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Back to the Future for Parole Policies


— December 11, 2003

Prisoner advocates had hoped that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would grant parole more often than his predecessor.

But those hopes began to fade over the weekend as the new governor upended a handful of decisions by the Board of Prison Terms.

Schwarzenegger reversed three decisions Friday night to grant parole to convicted murderers. That comes after two other reversals in recent days and one request that the board review a parole decision. Julie Dobie, a Schwarzenegger spokeswoman, said the administration had no comment on the governor’s weekend parole reversals.

The moves echo the hard-line policy on parole by former Gov. Gray Davis. During his five years in office, Davis reversed nearly every BOP decision involving a convicted murderer. He approved only eight releases of 294 murderers that came across his desk.

It would seem to add to the aura of injustice if a couple of parolees got out because their cases came fortuitously before the governor before he had decided on a hard-line policy, and while he was still trying to distinguish himself from Davis. Giving politicians too immediate a hand in the justice system is rarely a good idea. Details here from The Recorder.


Prisoner advocates had hoped that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would grant parole more often than his predecessor.

But those hopes began to fade over the weekend as the new governor upended a handful of decisions by the Board of Prison Terms.

Schwarzenegger reversed three decisions Friday night to grant parole to convicted murderers. That comes after two other reversals in recent days and one request that the board review a parole decision. Julie Dobie, a Schwarzenegger spokeswoman, said the administration had no comment on the governor’s weekend parole reversals.

The moves echo the hard-line policy on parole by former Gov. Gray Davis. During his five years in office, Davis reversed nearly every BOP decision involving a convicted murderer. He approved only eight releases of 294 murderers that came across his desk.

It would seem to add to the aura of injustice if a couple of parolees got out because their cases came fortuitously before the governor before he had decided on a hard-line policy, and while he was still trying to distinguish himself from Davis. Giving politicians too immediate a hand in the justice system is rarely a good idea. Details here from The Recorder.

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