Friday, September 09, 2011


I once supervised a parolee from Texas who was serving a life term for killing his wife. When I supervised him, he was the manager of a large manufacturing plant in the Los Angeles area. I could not see where he would pose any risk to public safety if he were discharged from his life sentence. I recommended that be done, but Texas insisted he remain on parole for the rest of his life.

While there are murderers who pose no risk to public safety if they are paroled, that does not hold true for most murderers. What the California parole board is doing in releasing so many murderers, is almost a crime in itself.

By Los Angeles Police Protective League Board of Directors

September 7, 2011

For law-abiding citizens, these are tough economic times. But for convicted killers serving time in California prisons, it’s a time for optimism.

Ian Lovett of the New York Times reported from Los Angeles that the state has upheld 207 of the parole board’s 254 decisions to release convicted killers. To date, more releases dates granted to murderers have been allowed to stand in 2011 than in any other year since California chief executives got the power to reverse them.

Previously, inmates serving life sentences for murder were virtually never set free, noted Lovett. Even on the rare occasions when the parole board granted a release, California’s governors almost invariably overturned it.

So why is it a new day in California for convicted killers who are more likely than ever to be paroled? At least part of the answer, according to the Times story, lies in the U.S. Supreme Court mandate to reduce overcrowding in the state’s prisons.

But that is not an acceptable reason for turning murderers loose on society. State government must find less dangerous ways to address prison overcrowding. Like our city government, the state simply must put public safety first.

At the rate the state is going, more than 1,000 convicted killers who should be serving time will be set free, putting residents at increased risk. We urge the governor to use his predecessors as role models when reviewing parole board decisions.

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