Lawbeat: Statistics show felony convictions for parolees at 10-year low

by Incarcerated Flavors

January 5, 2011 at 9:29 am by Robert Gavin

More times than not, the word parolee is not part of a feel-good story on the front page of the Sunday newspaper.

Usually it means one has been arrested — again.

But parolees are like the place-kickers of the criminal justice system. When they do what is expected, few notice.

When they miss? Everyone notices.

And for parolees, the misses are some of the most heinous crimes in society: murders, rapes, armed robberies and more.

In the last year alone, the Capital Region witnessed parolees get convicted of, among other crimes, a stabbing death, violent home invasion, the vicious beating of an 83-year-old woman and one case in which a woman was set on fire. A parolee was shot and killed by police in Albany after fleeing a traffic stop and driving into a police officer, who miraculously survived.

Parolees have come under controversy over concerns some of them repeatedly violate rules, such as drug use, and get left on the streets too long.

But that’s only part of the story — and, apparently, the smaller part.

The state Division of Parole released statistics Thursday that would likely surprise many observers: Parolees are committing fewer serious crimes.

In fact, felony convictions for parolees now stand at a 10-year low. The percentage of parolees returning to prison for new crimes plummeted 40 percent over the past decade.