Mar 24, 2009

Parole Links in the News

There were a few articles in the past few days highlighting the challenges of parole.

Sadly, 4 police officers in Oakland were shot by an individual on parole and the state is considering enhanced monitoring strategies as a result.

In New York, a part-time elevator mechanic with a sex offense background was found to be working in a Manhattan public school.

Unfortunately, these are the stories that stick out in the public mind and in the news. It is tragic that the four police officers were killed, but it should be noted that the majority of parolees in California -- as in other states -- are appearing for regular parole supervision, are gainfully employed, and are living crime-free lives.

Part of our strategy on the Task Force will be to try and communicate these stories of success more broadly, so that there is a more balanced perspective in the public mind. We envision a mobile speaker's bureau -- consisting of individuals who have successfully completed parole and have been trained in public speaking -- traveling to various consituencies to inform the public about what it takes to return sucessfully to one's community after incarceration.

We would be curious to hear other strategies from the field as well: what have you done to combat negative stigmas about parolees? How have you been able to reach mass audiences with this message?