December 14, 2011

Public Safety Matters: Senators urged to reject cuts to community corrections, junvenile parole

The Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday held what’s is likely it’s last budget hearing for the special session – this one focusing on criminal justice issues.

Federation Lobbyist Matt Zuvich said frontline officers “have grave concerns” with the proposed cuts to community supervision and early release of dangerous offenders.

Zuvich said 80 percent of those released from prison would have only half the parole they used to get.

“What that ends up shaking out to is that they just don’t have time to complete the kind of programs that help them not get back into jail,” he said. “Like cognitive behavioral treatment, like drug and alcohol treatment, like psychotropic drug treatment, mental health treatment, those kinds of things are going to be reduced because their parole time is going to be shortened to such an extent that they just literally can’t complete the programs.”

Zuvich also urged senators to reject proposed reductions in juvenile parole.

He said that the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration estimates that 48 percent of juvenile offenders released would commit more crimes if they had no parole.

“These would be folks that would go to jail in their next round,” Zuvich said.

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