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October 21, 2011

Interesting sex offender parole story (and parole data) from Kentucky

Folks like me who spend (too) much time obsessing about the federal sentencing system can (too) readily forget that parole remains an important part of many state sentencing systems.  And this local article, headlined "Laurel Co. sex offender paroled after serving 12 years of 100-year sentence," provides an interesting tale of parole (and some state parole from Kentucky.  Here are excerpts:

A Laurel County sex offender was paroled from prison earlier this month after serving less than 13 years of a 100-year sentence. Anthony L. Carroll, 53, was eligible for parole under the law that was in place when he committed the crimes in the early 1990s.

Still, the state Parole Board didn't have to let him out of prison, said Commonwealth's Attorney Jackie Steele, whose office opposed the parole.   Steele said a jury essentially said Carroll should spend the rest of his life in prison and noted the children involved have to live with what Carroll did to them the rest of their lives.

"For him to walk out in 12 years is an insult to the victims and the Commonwealth of Kentucky," said Steele, the felony prosecutor for Laurel and Knox counties. "There's no justice in that."  The mother of the boy Carroll was convicted of molesting said she thinks Carroll had somehow "gotten some strings pulled" to get released.  "It was something that was just crazy. How could this happen?" the woman said....

Verman Winburn, chairman of the board, said in a statement there was no outside influence or pressure to parole Carroll.  "The board took into consideration the fact that he has made changes in his life and taken responsibility for his crimes," Winburn said.

He said Carroll had completed sex-offender treatment, will receive aftercare treatment, and will be supervised for the rest of his life. Carroll must register as a sex offender.   "Our hope is that he will live a law-abiding life," Winburn said.

There has been a trend toward paroling more people as officials have looked for ways to cut prison costs.  In the 2005-06 fiscal year, 43 percent of eligible inmates were paroled, while 37 percent were deferred for later consideration, according to figures supplied by the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.  In the 2010-11 fiscal year, 54 percent of eligible inmates were paroled, and the deferment figure had dropped to 28 percent.   In the rest of the cases, inmates were ordered to serve out their sentence.

Jennifer Brislin, spokeswoman for the state Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, said there has been a renewed focus on efforts such as substance-abuse programs and tailored parole supervision aimed at helping parolees stay out of trouble.   The Parole Board, which is independent of the Cabinet, also has better tools to assess who to parole, she said.  Parole decisions are made with public safety in mind, Brislin said.   She said state figures show the percentage of inmates paroled who commit a new crime within two or three years has gone down since 2007.

Carroll was convicted in 1999 of five counts of sodomizing a young boy.  The abuse had taken place in the early 1990s, but the boy didn't come forward until years later, after his half-sister told their mother about abuse by Carroll, their mother said.  Carroll was tried for molesting the boy, who testified in graphic detail, said Danny Evans, who prosecuted the case.

A judge followed the jury's wishes and sentenced Carroll to 100 years in prison.  There were indications the girl had been molested, as well, but Carroll was not tried for any alleged abuse of her, her mother said.  That was because officials felt it was not necessary to put the girl through the ordeal of testifying, given the 100-year sentence Carroll faced, the mother said.

Under the law in place at the time of his crimes, a person convicted of committing a violent crime had to serve half the sentence, or 12 years — whichever was less — before becoming eligible for parole. V iolent offenders must now serve at least 85 percent of their sentence.

October 21, 2011 at 09:32 AM | Permalink

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Comments

"Our hope is that he will live a law-abiding life," Winburn said.

Says it all, doesn't it?

Posted by: federalist | Oct 21, 2011 10:34:43 AM

Yep. And when that "hope" is dashed, someone other than Winburn gets to pay the bill.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Oct 21, 2011 11:30:13 AM

Well, yeah, but gee, TarlsQtr, you gotta admit they have a good deal of feeling for the victim. Why just look at all the concern they're showing on the thread about Mr. Johnson, the guy who got executed for beating to death a six month-old to get revenge on his wife.

Just to give one example, they've said about the kid who got pummeled to death that he.....uh.....

Hold on. I'm sure they must have said something.

I'll find it. Just give me a sec.

OK. Yeah. It must be right here.

Right here.

Well, look, could you check back with me a little later?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 21, 2011 1:32:25 PM

Sorry to comment behind Bill Otis as his comment makes no sense but.....

People need to wake up. There is no indication that Anthony Carroll will ever commit another crime again. There is no one that I know of in the court system nor DOJ that can predict the future. There are no crystal balls!!!

People (especially in America) want nothing more than retribution. We have become a race of "let's get even, and then some".

No other crime gets a person pushed and shoved around as does a person who is convicted of a sex crime. Politician's use it to get elected and the neighborhood busy bodies use it as a way to bully SO's.

There is not one person on the face of this earth that is better than the other.

America and the world is in terrible shape and we still want to nit pick about someone who has not finished his sentence yet.

If we put as much time into holding those responsible for our present situation behind bars, then the need for revenge and blood lust would be satisfied. The bigger benefit would be that we would replace the "do as I say and not as I do crowd".

I don't know why I waste my time mentioning the obvious! You all know what would change our world for the better. It's no secret.

Posted by: Book38 | Oct 21, 2011 5:40:50 PM

Book38 --

"There is not one person on the face of this earth that is better than the other."

Given that that's what you think, I suppose we should indeed treat boy rapists just like normal, law-abiding people.

I have seldom seen airheaded moral equivalence better summarized than in your statement.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 21, 2011 7:32:12 PM

Bill -- don't you think that, after an individual has served their sentence, they ought to be treated like a normal, law-abiding person?

Posted by: Guy | Oct 21, 2011 10:29:14 PM

Guy --

I think people ought to be treated as their behavior, experience, abilities and character dictate.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 21, 2011 11:10:20 PM

well bill i guess that means we can all now head for the nearest group of politicians and HANG EM!

after all if this is TRUE!

"I think people ought to be treated as their behavior, experience, abilities and character dictate"

since at least 80-90% of them have EARNED IT! based ib the above statement!

and if a few who don't deserve it get hung....so what we have no problem shafting the 80-95% of those on the megan's law registry who NEVER COMMIT another new crime!


Posted by: rodsmith | Oct 22, 2011 1:25:23 AM

Guy,

I think you can answer your own question. Would you treat Mr. Carroll (the man in the article)like "a normal, law-abiding person" and allow him to be a babysitter for your 6 year old son?

Your point is silly, as no one (including you) believes the premise. I am supremely confident that if a perfect stranger, who appeared and smelled like a vagrant, knocked on your door and asked for a job as a live in babysitter, you would politely decline. This would be true even though you would have no idea if he had any criminal background.

So please do not preach to us about how a diaper sniper should be treated.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Oct 22, 2011 11:39:14 AM

Bill,

"I have seldom seen airheaded moral equivalence better summarized than in your statement."

...and I have not seen a bigger "asshole" than you. Except for maybe Obama, the members of the House and Senate, most judges, all prosecutors and let's not forget to mention people like YOU again!

You right wing christian prick!!!!!

Book38

Posted by: Book38 | Oct 22, 2011 3:40:09 PM

Book 38,

That's great! Now do an imitation of someone with intelligence, manners, and who is NOT a bigot.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Oct 22, 2011 4:22:34 PM

Book38 --

I see that you wisely do not repeat, much less make any effort to defend, your statement that, "There is not one person on the face of this earth that is better than the other."

So we're all equal? Far out.

If you actually beleve this, then I, being a person on the face of this earth, am equal to you. Not so? And that, under your own formulation, makes you a "right wing christian prick."

Who woulda thunk it?

P.S. Would I be better, in your view, if I were a right wing Jewish prick? Or Islamic? Atheist? Wiccan? Or is it just Christians who are uniquely "prickish?" Do tell!

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 22, 2011 5:48:49 PM

@ Bill & Tarls:

It strikes me that there's a cynicism in your respective views of the criminal justice system. I assume that, in your views, there is quite simply no hope for any chance of reform or redemption and that none are afforded another opportunity at living a law-abiding life after serving a sentence for a crime committed. So what, then, of our criminal justice system?

Tarls, I do not have a son, so I would be forced to speculate. As such, my answer would depend quite largely upon the circumstances; circumstances which, as I am quite sure, you are more than capable of manufacturing for me. Nevertheless, your question is so much hyperbole, as we're not asking the question of whether he should be allowed to babysit my imaginary son, but I fear the real question we are addressing is the nature and extent of the life left in the veins of the American myth of a clean slate once an offender has served his or her sentence. I assume, from the gist of your comments, that myth is quite an apt description for it in your eyes.

Posted by: Guy | Oct 23, 2011 6:03:45 AM

Guy stated: "It strikes me that there's a cynicism in your respective views of the criminal justice system."

I prefer the word "realism" over cynicism.

Guy stated: "I assume that, in your views, there is quite simply no hope for any chance of reform or redemption and that none are afforded another opportunity at living a law-abiding life after serving a sentence for a crime committed. So what, then, of our criminal justice system?"

And what a woefully incorrect assumption that would be. Redemption is impossible, as there is no way to "redeem" yourself for molesting a young boy. It simply cannot be done. I do believe that one can reform, however, as is evident by the 10 plus years I spent playing a small part in exactly that process.

Guy stated: "Tarls, I do not have a son, so I would be forced to speculate. As such, my answer would depend quite largely upon the circumstances; circumstances which, as I am quite sure, you are more than capable of manufacturing for me."

That is a copout. You do not need to know any "circumstances" other than, "Would you allow Mr. Carroll to babysit your/any 6 year old boy alone?" It is simple. If you TRULY believe that everyone has a "clean slate", then you would. If not, then you would not allow him to babysit.

You stated: "Nevertheless, your question is so much hyperbole,..."

No, it is not hyperbole but rather a simple question.

You stated: "...as we're not asking the question of whether he should be allowed to babysit my imaginary son, but I fear the real question we are addressing is the nature and extent of the life left in the veins of the American myth of a clean slate once an offender has served his or her sentence. I assume, from the gist of your comments, that myth is quite an apt description for it in your eyes."

Stop dancing and answer the question. The smokescreen is not working.

The term "clean slate" is similar to "innocent until proven guilty." They refer to the STATE'S handling of a crime or released criminal, not a private citizen's. Unless I am sitting as a juror or member of the court, there is nothing wrong or Unamerican about thinking "Defendant A is guilty as hell." Likewise, there is nothing Unamerican at all about believing that Mr. Carroll should not babysit my kid because of his previous history. It has NOTHING to do with the concept of a "clean slate."

So please stop your poor excuse for a Charleston and answer the question.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Oct 23, 2011 12:11:05 PM

Tarls,

I do not know why you find it so imperative that I answer your hypothetical question, but I'll give it my best. To give you the most honeost answer I can, I would have to say, quite simply, that I do not know. My reluctance would probably have much less to do with not knowing who is individual is as opposed to his criminal history. I have many friends, some of them with criminal pasts, and I even know a couple who were convicted of sexual offenses several years ago who I think have taken their rehabilitation seriously and I would trust to babysit by (heretofore hypothetical) children.

You're certainly entitled to your opinions, and I'm not here to call you names or "unamerican" for having your views -- but I do hope to make it clear that I think them incorrect, and on the whole harmful. I, too, have played a role in the "redemption" of offenders, and it strikes me that the person who believes redemption is truly impossible is much more a dangerous individual than the one who does not. After all, if there's no point in penitence, no possibility of reintegration with society, no opportunities given -- then what, exactly, is the point of even bothering to try? Sure, there is the possibility of additional punishment, but for those individuals who have been in the system for years upon years, the inside of a cell can feel more at home to them than being out on the streets, anyway.

The perspective for which I advocate is not one of forgive and forget. Redemption is not given, for sure, but is to be earned. That, I think, is perhaps the more helpful perspective to take -- for all involved: the offenders, the victims, and society as a whole. To a veil of a love for justice around a hatred for individuals (earned or not) seems to me to be most regrettable, both in terms of the injury done to society and also to yourself.

And perhaps you think me Unamerican for those views and, I assure you, I have been called worse. Peace, friend.

Posted by: Guy | Oct 24, 2011 12:36:10 PM

'Guy'...I guess silence should be considered golden in this case :-)

Posted by: comment | Oct 25, 2011 8:13:13 PM

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