- Politics and Social Issues
Parole Denials and The Cost for Deportable Prisoners
Parole Denials and The Cost for Deportable Prisoners
Since taking office, Governor Andrew Cuomo has strived to revamp the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS). He's specifically looking to downsize the prison population, as a common sense method of fiscal responsibility. At present, NYS-DOCCS allows a prisoner with a Final Order of Deportation to receive Conditional Parole for Deportation Only(CPDO). Once that individual has completed his/her minimum sentence and has satisfied all program requirements, if the person is denied parole, the Commissioner is able to grant them a CPDO. If given this opportunity, many of them plan to build a positive and productive life, upon returning to their country of origin.
Sadly, what has been happening is that the Parole Board Commissioners have not been granting parole or CPDO to mos life serving deportable prisoners on a consistent basis. The reasoning behind these denials, is language that is ambiguous and disingenuous. The Appellate Courts have overturned these denials. Despite this fact, at the new parole hearing, the board denies them parole again, using the same rationale that the Appellate court had previously struck down. As a result of this revolving cycle, a 15 to life sentence can amount to 30, 40, or more years in prison! That results in over ten or more denials....
How does NY State parole denials of deportable prisoners affect the civilian population? The state spends an average of $60,000 - $90,000 annually. New York State further burdens it's taxpayers by spending an additional $120,000 -$180,000 for every 24 month denial of a prisoner who is eligible for CPDO. Therefore, a person with 15 to life will cost the state a minimum of $900,000; and if that same person is eligible for CPDO, but have already been denied parole 3 times, New York state taxpayers would have paid a total of $1.3 million, before deporting him/her back to their country of origin. Bare in mind that these figures are extremely conservative, and are a reflection of the lowest possible estimated costs.
What is the rationale for denying these individuals who have a Final Order of Deportation, have taken all required rehabilitative programs, have shown remorse for their crime, and most importantly have changed their outlook on life? During their incarceration, they were given the opportunity and have taken advantage of the resources provided to achieve higher education, organizational behavior, and employable vocational ethics skills. They have also gained insight in entrepreneurship, considering the employment of these Caribbean countries.
New York State DOCCS, admits that offenders who have served more than 10 years, are less likely to recidivate. Infact, every statistical assessment tool available to the Parole Board, suggests that such individuals, when they complete their minimum sentence, are the best candidates for release. Case in point, "A Chance to Fix Parole in New York" from the New York Times - Editorial Board September 4, 2015. These studies do not support the Parole Board Commissioners' repeated denial of parole for individuals with indeterminate sentences (15 or more years to life) who are eligible for CPDO at their discretion. Although these individuals will be banned from returning to the United States, they are looking forward to contributing to their country of origin as an asset, not a liability.
The continuous denial of parole to offenders with a Final Order of Deportation, also negatively impacts the receiving country's' already strained and limited budgetary programs. There are little to no, government welfare or health care programs that will be available to ex-offenders in their respective returning countries, like the ones available in the US. As these individuals age during incarceration and get deported, the ramifications to NYS Department of Correction and Community Supervision and the receiving countries, become greater in budgetary expenditure for the cost of periodic doctor visits, and medical drugs. The available family structure and support diminishes over time, the longer the offender is denied parole. This also decreases the ex-offender's potential at becoming a productive member of society. Their physical and mental health will be deteriorated, making them more of a burden than an asset to society.
HOW MUCH PUNISHMENT IS ENOUGH. SHOULD THEY BE CAST AWAY FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES?
Note that granting Conditional Parole for Deportation Only to those offenders who have shown exemplary growth and self development during their incarceration, will not lessen the offender's crime. The continual judgement of the criminal's offense seems to be borderline cruel and unusual punishment; if there is a need to refine or list other criteria that is to be addressed by the offender seeking CPDO, then New York State Division of Parole Policy and Procedures Manual, Item: 9305.02, should address these issues.
According to a New York State Department of Corrections & Community Supervision 1995 study, they have saved approximately $141 million from deporting prisoners. In today's recovering economy, those savings surely can be of better use in our communities for schools and the prevention of crimes with conducive programing and other services.