Tuesday, October 23, 2012

DA: Concerned with parole violators

An interesting look at Pennsylvania parole violators by Kristen Doerschner of the Beaver County Times.  Doerschner writes, "Of all of the ways Pennsylvania is planning to reduce the state prison population, one of the biggest changes is a reform of the system regarding parole violators."

 Beginning Jan. 1, however, those the state considers “technical parole violators” will be sent to community correction centers instead of prison. The move is expected to open up 1,200 beds in the state prisons within a 12- to 18-month period, as part of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative.

Beaver County District Attorney Dave Berosh said he has several concerns with the looming change.

He told the Times, the first is what the state will define as a “technical” parole violator. He said he is concerned the definition of technical will get broader and broader as time goes on.

Berosh also said reasons people may get a technical parole violation -- such as failing a urine test when they are not allowed to take drugs -- is usually part of the underlying problem that landed the person in state prison to begin with.

Berosh said by the time someone ends up in the state prison system they’ve usually gone through the county jails as well as the county’s programs for drug and alcohol treatment, and mental health evaluations and treatment.

“I’m in favor of rehabilitation,” Berosh told the Times. However, he said by the time someone gets into the state system they’ve usually been through various treatment programs and local incarceration.

Berosh said he’s also concerned there will be a loss of a deterrent effect if people know they won’t get sent back to prison for violating the terms of their parole and will instead go to community correction centers.

To read more: http://www.timesonline.com/news/police_fire_courts/concerns-loom-over-parole-violators/article_99ec81f5-df89-5d5f-9ede-8a8f3da2eb03.html

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