PA parole officials defend system after recent criticism

    Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner says holes in the state’s monitoring of parolees could be a potential threat to public safety. His office’s release of an audit of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole claimed agents were not working hard enough or reacting quickly enough to missing parolees.

    Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner says holes in the state’s monitoring of parolees could be a potential threat to public safety. His office’s release of an audit of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole claimed agents were not working hard enough or reacting quickly enough to missing parolees.

    The chairman of the Probation and Parole Board disagrees with Wagner’s critique, as do some other advocates.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090612lfparole.mp3]

    Bill DiMascio is with the Pennsylvania Prison Society, a prison reform group that advocates on behalf of prisoners. He says there could always be improvements.

    DiMascio: I think the parole system in Pennsylvania does work. I think easy to criticize because of the size, the caseload and the job that parole has, but I believe that for the most part they do a pretty good job.

    Not everyone is pleased with the way the system is working. State Representative Brendan Boyle of Northeast Philadelphia has introduced a bill that would end early parole for repeat violent offenders. He says the legislation is a response to the recent killing of a number of police officers by repeat offenders, some of whom were on parole at the time.

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