We are grateful to the Coalition for Effective Public Safety for drafting and releasing this White Paper: The Current State of Parole in Massachusetts. The paper is extremely well researched and written; it makes a compelling case that the Massachusetts Parole Board needs extensive reformation. The paper was prepared by Attorneys from Prison Legal Serivces--Leslie Walker, James Pingeon, Tatum Pritchard and Stephanie Young Marzouk (now with Glickman Turley LLP)--and by Attorney Patricia Garin from Stern, Shapiro, Weissberg and Garin. It was distributed by Jean Trounstine, CEPS MEDIA. We are posting this paper with their permission. We hope the paper is the beginning of significant change and introspection regarding parole in Massachusetts.
For the past several years, the Lifers’ Group, Inc. of MCI, Norfolk has obtained data from the MA Parole Board on the hearings given Lifers, most of whom were convicted of 2nd degree murder. (A very few were convicted of other crimes which the M.G.L. provides for a maximum sentence of life. Those crimes include rape, poisoning, armed assault within a dwelling, armed robbery, kidnapping with intent to extort, and assault of a child with intent to commit rape.) The very detailed analysis, with discussion, separates decisions by those who are before the Parole board for the first time and those who are applying a subsequent time. Also listed are the reasons that the Parole board gives the applicants, both for approved parole and parole denied, as is their frequency. Finally, the length of setbacks (time needing to elapse before an individual denied parole is allowed to reapply for parole) is charted.
The most recent data come from hearings in 2008. There is a previous report for 2007, and the earliest report analyzes the years 2003-2006.