Contact: Joshua Fitzpatrick, (518) 455-3751
For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tedisco Calls For Legislation To Stop "Revolving Doors Of Justice" Being Caused By The Spitzer Administration's "Get Out Of Jail Free" Policy
Points to alarming reports of violent felons being released from prison at a rate nearly double that of the last two years of the Pataki Administration

Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) today called for passage of legislation to stop the "revolving doors of justice" that have been caused by the Spitzer Administration's utilization of overly lenient parole policies. Tedisco pointed to recent reports that violent felons have been released from prison at a rate nearly double that which occurred during the last two years of the Pataki Administration.

"Making it easier for convicted killers to receive parole amounts to a 'revolving door of justice' they will exploit to their advantage - and to society's detriment," Tedisco said.

"It's alarming for many New Yorkers to learn that convicted, violent felons are being released from state prisons at a rate nearly double than was previously the case. More troubling still, is that the sharpest spike in criminals released on parole has been among murderers. This fact alone illustrates a serious threat to an unsuspecting public that will soon have more convicted killers living in their midst," Tedisco stated.

"One of the basic tenets of our criminal justice system is that individuals convicted of crimes should receive punishment commensurate with their misdeeds. That punishment represents part of the debt they owe to society. When convicted murderers are paroled at an increased rate, it sends a message to criminals that New York isn't serious about public safety - and that's exactly the wrong one to send," Tedisco stated.

"For years, New York saw its levels of violent crime decrease thanks to the hard work of law enforcement - not because there were more opportunities for convicted murderers to get out of jail early. That's the exact opposite of a get-tough approach that we know, for a fact, works. The state tried criminal coddling and saw what it led to: increased rates of violent crime that threatened the safety of law-abiding New Yorkers," Tedisco said.

"Despite the administration's protestations to the contrary, it's pretty clear there's been some sort of policy change which has led to more violent criminals being paroled - and I think the public deserves an explanation why," Tedisco said.

Tedisco indicated that he and the Assembly Minority Conference are preparing to introduce legislation requiring Parole Commissioners to be randomly assigned and not chosen by convicted felons, as proposed in recent settlement talks over a federal lawsuit alleging that convicted murderers were unjustly denied parole. Their legislation would also require the Parole Board to review the heinousness of the original crime when determining a criminal's eligibility for parole.

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