I spoke about my crime and how the parole board labeled me the “worst of the worst” – but that my victim didn’t want me in prison, my judge didn’t want me to do all that time, even the prosecutor said he was OK with me getting out, but the parole board wouldn’t let me out. That put a glaring light on the parole board and their “because we can” mentality. The parole board scored me as a “-1 risk factor” for ever returning back to prison and yet they wouldn’t release me. They were the only ones that didn’t want me out and that left them alone in the limelight.
I also told them that as taxpayers, they should be outraged. Because I spent so much time in prison needlessly, the taxpayers paid for 5 years of college for me and numerous programs.
I told them that Terry Collins was asking for money to help the non-violent offenders stay out of prison and for money to overcome the overcrowding, including giving the new law people 5 good days a month. But I said that Terry Collins didn’t need any money. He had millions and millions of dollars he could save by letting the old law people go. If he let them go, he could close two prisons. (Did he forget that “slight” detail?).
To address his requests for help for those non-violent offenders, I also told them that there are programs in prison already to help people on drugs, including AA and NA, which are both free to the state. And chances are by the time these new people arrived in prison that Terry Collins wants money to help keep them out of prison, they ‘d have already gone through numerous drug programs before even coming to prison.
When Senator Ray Miller asked how we felt the parole board could be monitored, I mentioned the “who guards the guards” issue or question and suggested the parole board be overviewed by an impartial party such as colleges of law schools, i.e., Cincinnati Law school (Innocence project), which would be similar to what is being implemented in Pennsylvania to oversee that state’s parole board.
Submitted by Sheila Rutkowski
Member of LibRA