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  • Felon Release

    As per the Denver Post, the first 10 of many felons to be released as a "money-saving" measure.

    Colorado early-release initiative
    By Kirk Mitchell
    The Denver Post
    Posted: 10/15/2009 01:00:00 AM MDT
    Updated: 10/15/2009 06:13:48 AM MDT

    The first 10 felons to be set free in a state plan to save millions have records of assault, escape and rioting. (The Denver Post)
    A man accused three times of sex offenses, a drunken driver convicted of vehicular homicide and a third man nabbed 46 times for alleged crimes including assault are all among the first 10 Colorado inmates granted early prison releases.

    And they were considered the best of the bunch.

    The 10 whose sentences were cut by weeks or months by the Colorado Parole Board were among a smaller-than-expected number the board considered safe to let go. And the volume and diversity of the 10 inmates' prior offenses shows how difficult it will continue to be for the state to choose among thousands of convicted criminals for early release.

    The early-release initiative, announced Aug. 18, is part of a plan to save $19 million toward

    Extras
    View images of the first 10 inmates released early from prison because of the Colorado budget gap.
    filling a $318 million gap in this year's state budget.

    State officials have projected that over the two years, 8,003 inmates will be eligible. Gov. Bill Ritter has said that killers, kidnappers and sex offenders would not get out early.

    Corrections officials initially estimated that the parole board would deny 20 percent of the early-release cases, leaving about 6,400 who could be released up to six months early.

    Ritter administration officials referred questions about the releases to Parole Board chairman David Michaud , who said the process of finding offenders deserving of early release has proven much more difficult than anticipated.

    80 percent deemed too risky

    He said the board is rejecting about 80 percent of eligible offenders for early release, including 149 sex offenders whose cases were brought before the board.

    This means the state won't realize the anticipated savings.

    "I've been a cop since 1963 and I've spoken to hundreds of victims. I'm not going to let someone out early if I don't think it's safe," said Michaud, who was Denver's police chief for six years. "I don't care how much money they save or don't save."

    He said Ritter has told him there is no quota and he wouldn't object to the parole board not releasing any offenders if they aren't deemed safe.

    If the Parole Board continues to reject the bulk of inmates for early release, the savings will be just a fraction of the $19 million projected.

    The Parole Board bases release decisions on two risk-assessment scales. The board reviews victim input, institutional behavior, commitment to sobriety, participation in programming, family support, job opportunities and prior criminal records, Michaud said.

    In response to an open-records request, the state released the names of the first 10 this week.

    Jose Madrigal, 27, convicted of vehicular homicide in 1999, was released the first day that early releases were granted on Sept. 22. It was 26 days before his mandatory release date. Madrigal had trouble following rules in prison.

    In 2007, he was convicted of rioting in prison and got another two years tacked on to his sentence.

    Michaud said that Madrigal drove drunk, rolled a van and killed a passenger, but he didn't intentionally kill someone. The board will not give early releases to inmates guilty of first- or second-degree murder, he said.

    Although Benny Joe Rael, 51, was serving a nonviolent theft conviction when he was released 16 days early — also on Sept. 22 — he had been arrested previously three times for sex offenses and was convicted in one child sex-assault case in 1982, Colorado Bureau of Investigation records say.

    Rael also is a convicted drug dealer and has been arrested for assault threats, possession of a weapon, obstructing police, larceny and forgery.

    Michaud said he was unaware of the sex-assault conviction, but that an assessment had determined Rael's risk of committing a new sex offense was so low that he didn't need treatment.

    Offenders' records typical

    Of the first 10 offenders, released Sept. 22 and 23, seven have been convicted previously of violent crimes, including three convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or assault and four convicted of felony violent crimes from robbery to vehicular assault.

    Attorney General John Suthers, a former executive director of the Department of Corrections, said the records of the 10 offenders are very typical, even of offenders now serving time for crimes the department classifies as nonviolent.

    "I have to assume the first 10 released were deemed to be among the lowest risk of the possible releases," Suthers said. "Frankly, this doesn't portend well for public safety, as large numbers of such offenders are released early in the coming years."

    State officials say that intensified parole services will be provided, including mental-health treatment and expanded satellite-based monitoring.

    According to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records, the first 10 inmates released in the program have previously been arrested an average of 19.5 times.

    Of the 10 offenders, seven had previously violated parole conditions and six had been charged with escape.

    Rick Martinez, 48, who was released 26 days early, had been arrested for escape in 1994 and for numerous parole violations, according to CBI records.

    To make room for offenders being paroled early, about 2,600 former inmates currently on parole will no longer be supervised.

    Kirk Mitchell: 303-954-1206 or [email protected]

    What the hey!!!!!!
    Codeman

  • #2
    Just goes to show

    How messed up this country is. Instead of cutting out their college education, free medical care, desserts at meals, law libraries, etc. they let them go. Way to go Colorado pass the buck onto the police agencies then just take them back. Up until about the '60s prisons were an asset to the state. Then someone decide to give them every right under the sun. Now you got the state paying millions to some felon in prison because he slipped in the mess hall.........ok I'm done.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by NYSCOsoon View Post
      How messed up this country is. Instead of cutting out their college education, free medical care, desserts at meals, law libraries, etc. they let them go. Way to go Colorado pass the buck onto the police agencies then just take them back. Up until about the '60s prisons were an asset to the state. Then someone decide to give them every right under the sun. Now you got the state paying millions to some felon in prison because he slipped in the mess hall.........ok I'm done.

      Your reaction is typical of a person that has no idea what they are talking about. If you've spent any time at all working in corrections you would know that releasing somebody that has been incarcerated for any length of time 30 days early makes no difference. This is not county lockup we are talking about. If a convict has been down for 10, 5 or even 2 years do you actually think letting them go 30 days earlier than their MRD makes a difference? You pretty much know who will be back and who won't. Once you've spent a lot of time around convicts you will understand this.

      On the other hand I agree with what you say. They ARE in prison and they should have no rights. When they start bitching moaning, whining and complaining I ask them "Do you want to know how to solve that problem?" I tell them "Don't come to prison!" I'm 100% with you on that but letting somebody go 30 days earlier than their MRD doesn't warrant the statement "Way to go Colorado pass the buck onto the police agencies then just take them back." It just doesn't work that way!

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      • #4
        So release the FTA's and the Child Support people. Namely the non-violent types. I don't know, that's just me and my common sense talking. If you can't afford them, transport them to a neighboring facility. By releasing those folks back into society, especially in a time like this, would be straight up stupid. Plus you can look forward to more problems down the road. Possibly ones that are drug-related. Then what will you do? Let them get away with it?

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        • #5
          Kentucky did this, within months I can't remember the exact percentage, but it was very high, many of them were re-arrested by police for new felonies. not surprising.

          what i've learned from corrections is, nothing we do to an individual is going to change them. the positive change must come from within. i deal with it every day. most of them don't learn. although i come from a prison background, i am currently a Probation/parole officer. some people just get old and tired of going to jail/prison or they die. not that they're not breaking the law, but the likelihood they'll be caught smoking crack in a house is much less than the chance they'll be caught robbing. only difference is now they get a govt paycheck to feed their addictions instead of them holding up liquor stores.

          /end rant

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          • #6
            The one guy was released 26 days early. Big f-ing deal. It's not like they cut 20 years off some guys murder sentence.
            War to the knife and knife to the hilt.

            TERM LIMITS!

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            • #7
              yes i wasn't saying myself that it's a bad idea. people would likely re-offend either way, it's just prolonging it. but if it's just 26 days, then i don't see any harm. like some 26 day long program would drastically improve his chances for successful re-entry into society anyways.

              Comment


              • #8
                Given that a small, but viable, percentage of offenders will die, sometimes horribly, in the first thirty days of release...I'm all for this early dump-their-arse program.
                sigpic
                Don't make me gassy.
                You wouldn't LIKE me when I'm gassy...
                _________________________________

                If you're offended by something that I've said...it was just your turn.

                Comment


                • #9
                  this is a last ditch effort by the states to close budgets in meaningless ways but the truth is that many of these will be back and in a bad economy they have almost no chance of a successful release

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I agree that letting them out early is not a horrible thing, but it does seem like a short term fix to a long term problem. Perhaps it's time for the states to realistically analize which programs are working and which are not. Why pay a teacher to teach felons to lay brick, be plumbers, hvac techs, and cooks. It would be easy to do follow ups and determine how many ex-offenders actually obtain gainful employment upon release as a result of these rehabilitation courses and learned skills at tax payer expense..................or mabey I'm thinking above my pay grade.
                    Last edited by Blankstare; 10-16-2009, 07:45 AM. Reason: spelling
                    Now get out there and protect and serve

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Colorado Fatboy...
                      As an "expert" on recividism, how do you know which convicts (inmates) are going to re-offend? To my knowledge, there is no way anyone can predict when an ex con will re-offend. My point is, releasing a convicted felon early only adds to the strain placed on an already burdened society. It would make more sense to me to pare the amount of money spent on corrections in this state. Perhaps a moritorium on new prisons, or better yet, an early release of upper-level management might be a more permanent solution. I think too much $$$ is being spent on corrections that could be better spent on other things like education and job programs for those who are non-offenders. We have created the "monster" by a kinder-gentler attitude, perhaps it is time to do less for the inmate instead of trying to maintain the level and type of programs and services that are now provided. Correctional officers have to give-up portions of their salaries by furlough...I'll bet the inmate isn't giving up much of anything. JMHO,
                      Codeman

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                      • #12
                        Codeman....that type of response would get you a slap on the private parts here in NY. NYSDOCS loves to do do do for the inmates. NYSDOCS love putting know-nothings in high paying positions. NYSDOCS loves to shat in the faces of those in blue.

                        Now me on the other hand...does share your opinion. I think it is spot on. Way to see thru all the BS.
                        Please note: Any assessment, assumption, attitude, conclusion, conjecture, feeling, guess', hypothesis, idea, inference, notion, sentiment, speculation, surmise', theory, thought or viewpoint that I put down is STRICTLY MINE! Remember that they do not represent the State of New York at any time!! At any time that NYS and I have the same viewpoints; they are strictly coincidental!!!

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                        • #13
                          Codeman, I agree with what you are saying as far as catering to the convicts. What I don't agree with it that letting somebody out a few weeks early that has been locked up for a number of years is a big deal. The liberal media is playing this up for a story and causing public outrage. If it will save the dept. millions of dollars what does it matter if they get out a few weeks early? We are talking a few weeks before their MRD (mandatory release date) They are NOT taking a guy that has a 20 year sentence and letting him out 15 years early! That is the way this article makes it sound. And that is how the general public is perceiving this program

                          As for recidivism it's just a feeling you get. When you spend a lot of time around the same convicts day after day you just know. There are several guys that I believe are 100% comfortable being in prison and will be back when they get out simply because they can not function on the outside. Then you have the guys who did something stupid and got caught and will do their time then fall off the radar and become productive members of society.

                          The correctional officers and sergeants are exempt from the furlough days BTW it's only LT and up. Again I couldn't agree with you more that DOC does need to make some cuts from the top down but that's not likely to happen. They just won't let it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Colorado Fatboy,

                            Are you sure that "feeling" you get isn't just gas????

                            I realize the inmates DOC is letting out only have a short time until their MRD, that is for now!..How long before "a few weeks early" turns into "a few months" then "a few years" etc. This is how the "system" works! My point is that watering down the sentencing for any reason defeats the purpose of sentencing in the first place. Liberal Judges and gun-shy prosecutors have been doing this for years. What then do you consider "doing something stupid"?...Robbery, white-collar crime, drug use??? They are all crimes by statute, otherwise the individual wouldn't be incarcerated in the first place.

                            I guess what I am saying is that the criminal is already serving a shortened sentence in many cases, so why shouldn't they serve the full time?

                            As far as furloughs...I'm glad the "upper echelon" is bearing the burden for the cuts. But in reality, it's a departmental problem that in my opinion hasn't been scutinized to a level that warrants this kind of temporary fix. In addition, the burden should be spread equally among ALL staff to include program and non-essential personnel. I know it sounds like I don't have any empathy for the "grunt" on the line, but in all fairness, is a CO or Sergeant more deserving then a Lieutenant, Captain or Major? My guess is that the top-structure, (Wardens, Associate Wardens and Directors etc.) aren't taking their cuts...am I wrong?

                            In any event, I will be following this early release program just to see if I'm not correct in my assumptions. Be safe, and NEVER, EVER lick your fingers after a strip-search!

                            Codeman
                            Last edited by codemanski; 10-21-2009, 09:10 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Hack4NYS,

                              Thanks for the kudos...I guess i just don't care for superfluous BS!

                              Codeman

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