Supporting Argument for 7) Parole hearings shall occur every year after a person has reached their minimum sentence.
After a convicted person has served the minimum sentence for their class of offense, thus becoming eligible for parole consideration, any and all future hearings shall be held annually, except in special circumstances, to determine whether the convicted person has met, or at least is progressing toward, the goals and objectives set by the board.
~ ~ ~
The frequency of these hearings are vital for the simple fact that, like mile-markers on the side of a highway, they allow the board to see if a convicted person is headed in the right direction. These annual hearings will not only instill hope, but will also give the convicted person a concrete strategy by which they can evaluate and prioritize the encounters and occurrences that ensue daily within the dynamics of confinement. Under the current system, a convicted person who is sentenced to, let’s say, 60 years within the truth-in-sentencing scheme, must serve 100% of this sentence. If he or she is 19 or 20, a 60-year sentence is a death sentence. Because life as they know it is over, they are offered no incentive to curb, adjust or modify their attitude or behavior.
And what if this particular person is having a frustratingly bad day and happens to clash with someone who is having an equally bad day? Whether convicted person or officer, what’s to prevent this individual from giving either of them the business?
With hearings being conducted annually, it remains fresh in the mind of a convicted person that which is to be his or her path to freedom. This encourages them to continually deliberate what may or may not be in their best interests to say or do.
Take an individual such as Larry Mack, N12548, who has been incarcerated since 1979. A man who, after 23 years in prisons spent 10 months out in society on an appeal bond exhibiting all the qualities of one who has been restored to useful citizenship.
If parole existed today in the incorporated model proposed by this bill, would not the board have benefitted as well from the wealth of knowledge that Larry Mack gained during his brief 10-month journey?
~Written by Richard Morris (aka Raheem)
Raheem was incarcerated at age 21. He was originally on death row, but his release is now set for 2048 at age 75.