When a person is released from prison in the United States, they go on parole, which is a form of supervision that is meant to keep an eye on and ensure that a former inmate is truly rehabilitated. Violating one’s parole, such as committing a new crime or failing a drug test, could mean recidivism.
In December 2017, former California Governor Jerry Brown commuted the sentence of Kelly Savage, The Atlantic reports. Gov. Brown’s decision allowed the 46-year-old inmate at the Central California Women’s Facility (a state prison) to ask the parole board for release. Ms. Savage, along with her former husband was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole after being convicted of first-degree murder. The victim was Savage’s 3-year-old son who died of blunt force trauma in 1998.
So, after 23 years in prison, Kelly was granted parole, according to the article. She is now among the hundreds of thousands of Americans in what has become a ballooning parole system.
Criminal Justice Reforms Lead to Parole Overload
On numerous occasions we have written about criminal justice reform legislation in California. In recent years, men and women serving lengthy prison systems have been given second chances via new laws that were partly meant to address prison overpopulation.
Such laws, according to the article, in California and beyond led to a significant decrease in the national prison population. What’s more, the decline coincided with a decline in the number of people on probation. However, with all the men and women receiving pardons, commutations, and parole, it meant far more people than ever would require post-incarceration supervision.
In 2016, nearly 875,000 Americans were on parole, according to the article. Such people are subject to specific conditions they must meet, or risk being locked up again. Studies indicate that the number of restrictions placed on ex-convicts has steadily increased over the years, thus increasing recidivism rates.
Nearly 30 percent of men and women admitted to state and federal prisons in 2017 had committed the crime of violating community-supervision programs such as parole and probation. What’s more, parole officers have broad powers and very little oversight.
“Parole officers have tremendous power when deciding how to deal with a parolee, and there is very little oversight of those decisions,” said Yale Law School professor, Fiona Doherty.
Orange County Attorney at Law
Please contact The Law Office of Ronald Brower if you are facing criminal charges in California. Attorney Brower has decades of experience and can help you achieve a favorable outcome in your case.