At the recent debate held Aug. 8 in Natick I was quoted as saying: "get people out into the public instead of leaving them in jail."
While the quote is correct it lacks my complete statement which clarifies my position regarding parole.
With the recent death of a police officer in Woburn it was made clear that our Parole Board was not working.
This is not the only evidence that our Parole Board was not working.
Recently “Melissa’s Law” was passed, it too addressed the practice of releasing repeat violent offenders into the public.
I vehemently oppose paroles that put the public at risk.
What I do support is the release of individuals into a controlled environment where there is a reasonable certainty that they are not a risk to the general public.
I believe that allowing these individuals to exist in the public realm without complete freedom during the remainder of their sentence is a concept that serves the public interest.
Incarcerating individuals is an expensive proposition. Estimates are that it costs the state over 40K/year to incarcerate an individual.
If there verifiable reason to believe that an individual will not be a risk to public safety I have no issue with their release into a controlled environment.
Such has not been the case with the Massachusetts Parole System.
It is my understanding, from listening to nominees for the Parole Board, that there are systems used in other states that have better success than ours.
I support adopting one of these successful systems, and I acknowledge that Massachusetts did not have a successful system.
I am concerned that there are those that cannot accept that our parole system was anything but the best in the nation, it was not.
I am concerned that when I spoke with another candidate for the Governor’s Council (not for District Two) that they felt that Massachusetts did have the best system in the country, regardless of these deaths. This individual believed that not all tragedies can be avoided.
I disagree, an individual released is not a free person. Their liberty should be restricted to ensure that the public is not at risk and an assessment that they are ready to be released should be based on public safety.
I do support the release of individuals, but not if they put the public at risk.
It is my understanding that Massachusetts is adopting a successful parole program and is in the process of putting into place the necessary tools and programs to support such program.
At this time of change our parole rates are below the national average.
I look forward to the program that can save the tax payers money and ensure the public safety, I oppose remaining on the bleeding edge of parole programs.
Candidate for Governor's Council District Two
Primary Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012