Why Parole?

Marc Alexander (ex-United Future MP, now National party candidate and fan of what I like to call the Nonsensical Sentencing Trust) has a letter to the Editor in today’s Press. One of his comments is that we shouldn’t have parole.

I don’t understand this position.

It’s very easy to sway people against parole by saying that inmates get let off lightly, because they get out of prison earlier and therefore doesn’t serve the full term of their imprisonment.

I think we need to look at it like this:

1. We cannot keep people in prison indefinitely.
2. After a sentence is completed, we can no longer impose any restrictions of their freedom.

    Therefore, the question is “Do we want to be able to monitor what a convicted criminal does on his or her release into the community?”.  Do we want to be able to:

    • Check before release that the offender is going to live at a suitable address?
    • Track their whereabouts?
    • Ensure they receive community based treatment programmes?
    • Encourage the person into gainful employment or training?
    • Recall the person to prison if he or she re-offends?

    If so, then that is parole. Parole allows the inmate to complete the last part of his or her sentence in the community, but allows us to place monitoring on them while their sentence is completed.

    Without parole, then as soon as their prison lag is finished they are up and out the door without restriction. Which one seems like a better option to you?