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Monday, April 20, 2015

PAROLE

Is it time to reconsider parole? 

Florida, like most states, used to have a system of parole, where sentenced inmates could earn an early release with good behavior in prison. The people released early were monitored as if they were on probation. Then a series of highly publicized events in which parolees committed new violent crimes caused an uproar and legislators, never one to miss a popular cause and align themselves with the "tough on crime" crowd, did away with parole in Florida. 

It's never good to make a wide ranging change in policy based on a media-fed frenzy. 

Parole existed in Florida from 1941 until 1983, when the first version of Florida's sentencing guidelines were adopted. At the time, parole was essentially replaced with a system that institutionalized a thirty three percent reduction in a sentence, based on good behavior in prison. 

Then a series of highly publicized crimes committed by prisoners who were released "early" caused an uproar and legislators, never one to miss a popular cause and align themselves with the "tough on crime" crowd, did away with most of the sentencing guidelines and early release. 

Sense a pattern? 

But here is the question: with crime rates falling, and with decades of research proving that there are less expensive and equally effective alternatives to prison available, is it time to re-consider parole? 

There are moral reasons.  If we are truly a society based on Judeo-Christian ethics, then don't we believe in redemption?  Are people just that bad that a conviction for  sale of of a few ounces of cocaine with a prior for burglary of a vehicle at age eighteen requires twenty years in prison? There are sound scientific surveys that show that people age out of their criminal conduct in their mid-forties. But a pain-killer addict found with enough oxycontin faces a twenty-five year minimum mandatory. And make no mistake, there are simple drug addicts serving that quarter-century sentence in our state. 

In the early 1980's Florida was suffering from the simultaneous plagues  of crack cocaine and the immigration wave from Mariel, Cuba. Many of the people who arrived from Mariel (not all) were released from Catsro's prisons.  Cuba's incarceration problem became Miami's. It was a brilliant and bold stroke by Castro, but the unintended consequences were that many Floridians were caught up in the draconian response to the crack fueled  crime wave that followed. 

Today, the tragedies that make headlines are the crazy people who empty automatic weapons into classrooms at schools- but lets not get crazy and restrict a lunatic's right to purchase a semi-automatic rifle with a high capacity magazine and armor piercing bullets. 

Maybe, just maybe, we can apply the go-slow approach of gun control to incarceration. 

A good place to start would be the hundreds if not thousands of Florida's inmates serving decades for non-violent drug offenses. Drugs are the scourge of society. But for every dealer imprisoned, a new one, lured by the easy money, takes his or her place. Prison is not the answer for most drug crimes. 

Then we can look at the felony murder rule and consider parole for the hundreds if not thousands of people serving minimum mandator sentences for driving the get-away-car or, walking into the store with their friend who, unbeknownst to them, had a firearm. 

We should consider parole. It's cheaper then prison. It's effective. And it's the moral thing to do. 

"Let he who has not sinned, cast the first stone."  Somebody important once said that, right? 

See you in court. 

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please, please stop........


"Congratulations to Seth LaVey in getting his client a bond through a rigorous 4 day Arthur hearing with 11 witnesses.

Ultimately, The state failed to meet its burden.

Way to go!!!

LAW OFFICE OF SETH LAVEY, P.A.
14651 BISCAYNE BOULEVARD #357
NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA 33181
Phone: (305) 794-3900
Facsimile: (877) 866-4142
E-Mail: laveys@bellsouth.net"

Fake Gail Levine said...

My thoughts precisely.

Anonymous said...

I hope Seth didn't hurt his shoulder by patting himself on the back so hard in public.

Anonymous said...

"with crime rate falling...." have you considered the possibility that the absence of parole and tough sentences have resulted in the "crime rate falling" ? Sounds like it to me.

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Lavey! Sounds like a mini trial. Well done.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous Hater @ 2:17 PM:

That kind of commentary reeks of insecurity. You're either the ASA who lost against Lavey or you're a poor excuse for a defense attorney with hardly any clients.

Misery doesn't suit anyone.

Just Another Intern said...

"with crime rate falling...." have you considered the possibility that the absence of parole and tough sentences have resulted in the "crime rate falling" ?

Also correlates nicely with increased gun sales and concealed-carry permits.

Anonymous said...

Jesus never had to run for re-election

Anonymous said...

Seth didn't send that email, his wife did. And he got his client a bond in an attempted murder of a LEO case in front of a new judge with plenty of law enforcement presence and pressure. I say good job and congratulations are in order, no matter who sends them out.

Huey Freeman said...

Pondering: Has the absence of parole and tough sentences resulted in the crime rate falling? It would be great if that were the case right, make every crime punishable by a considerably higher sentence and crime will automatically drop. New max of 5YSP with a 366 min man for that former 2 deg misd criminal mischief of breaking out your cheating ex-s car window, and Miami will have no more criminal mischief cases. If it were only so simple that tough sentences reduce crime post 10-20-life(25) gun offenses would have dropped off the map. If we really want to talk about reducing crime it will cost money up front by investing in early childhood education and really strengthening up our public education system, not just throwing dollars at it. Also an effort to strengthen families and communities would help. If most people have, really and legitimately have, a realistic shot at accomplishing success they will choose to go for it.* If all I see are drug dealers and users, prostitutes, murder, crime, and hs dropouts all around me that is what I see my future being.+
*Of course some people are or seem to be just bad, and as optimistic as I try to be, they seem doomed.
+The inverse is also correct that you do have some roses that grow from concrete, and despite their surroundings they still achieve success.
The realist in me says there will always be crime, no matter what you do to prevent or reduce it. Our approach to crime (criminal justice system as a means of punishment vs rehabilitation; for profit prisons; campaign rally cry that I have to maintain once elected) is what is more telling about us as a society and a forecast for our future.

Anonymous said...

http://nyti.ms/1G0z9Wt 1.5 Million Missing Black Men

Seth Sklarey said...

One major reason they eliminated parole is because of the poor quality of underpaid parole officers who couldn't effectively do their jobs or had attitude problems resulting in inconsistant or vindictive monitoring of parolees. We have way too many people in prison unnecessarily and the privatized prison industry has made it profitable to keep it that way. The prisons are barely a step above medieval horror chambers and the guards are less than ideal.
On the other hand there are a lot of idiots that shouldn't be on the streets and will never change their ways.
Why has no one made a push to have better jail facilities in Miami-Dade County? It is about time to replace the main jail, raze the women's jail and provide for mentally and physically ill inmates.

Anonymous said...

1.5 million lost black men? Don't you know? they never found their way home from the first million man march in D.C.

Anonymous said...

I am aware that his wife sent it out and it doesn't matter. I know it may shock most of you but most of US don't care to see 100 "way to go" "atta boy" emails coming in all day long.

Anonymous said...

SS:
Why has no one made a push for better jail facilities? Because 'we' don't want our prisoners treated well.
Idiot general population thoughts: Jail is to punish people. If we want to be 'tough on crime' then why would we want our prisoners treated well? Jails shouldn't be nice.

HF:
"If all I see are drug dealers and users, prostitutes, murder, crime, and hs dropouts all around me that is what I see my future being"
Well if we locked them up and threw away the keys and didn't let them out on parole then our kids wouldn't see it and thus no more problems, right?

Huey Freeman said...

Anonymous @10:19
"Well if we locked them up and threw away the keys and didn't let them out on parole then our kids wouldn't see it and thus no more problems, right?"
If you think the current situation is "no more problems," or doubling down on sentence length works even better, then I guess no more parole works for you. It doesn't seem to be working for society as a whole from my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Re: the Boston marathon: I would suggest that the female winner from Kenya use her prize money to have an orthodontist fix her big buck teeth. In the future all contestants from Kenya and Ethiopia should be banned as they have an unfair advantage because all in those third world countries have to run all the time in that they are too stupid and poor to have other means of transportation as we do in the civilized world.

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Lavey! Forget the haters (A @ 9:58:00 AM). It's all about progress. Your win is our win, too.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I do not share work business with my wife. Embarrassing post by the wife.

Anonymous said...

Who was the judge who granted Bandoo bond, Rudy Ruiz or Jason Bloch?