|A PROPER SENTENCE?
Should lawmakers in Georgia make some offenders ineligible for parole?
June 24, 1998
in this forum:
Without parole, are prison authorities left without any reward for prisoners' good behavior? If there is no parole, will prisoners' violence and disrespect for the prison system increase? Will taking away parole take away the hope that prisoners will ever rehabilitate themselves? What effect would abolishing parole have on prison overcrowding? What would abolishing parole mean for state spending on prisons? Lynn Brielmaier of Houston, TX, asks: If there is no parole, will prisoners' violence and disrespect for the prison system increase?
Georgia State Senator Sonny Perdue responds:
No. I believe such actions and negative ideas will decrease. Again, wardens repeatedly state that those inmates sentenced to life with no chance of parole continue to be the model persons within a prison. And these people know the exact duration of their sentence... every day for the remainder of their lives. Under parole, inmates have no clear idea as to their release date. A prisoner may be sentenced from eight to fifteen years, with parole eligibility in five years.
That means he/she could serve anywhere from a five to fifteen years--an entire decade worth of uncertainty. And yet this uncertainty created by parole does not seem to have stemmed the tide of prison violence or internal disrespect. However, if prisoners know how long incarceration will last and are not strung along with false hopes, they are more likely to treat the community with respect.
Jim Wetherington, Vice Chair of the Georgia Parole Board, responds:
Much of the incentive to obey prison officials and be a good inmate will be taken away if parole is abolished. Many correctional officers have publicly stated their belief that this is true.