|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? Rob Kartholl of Americus, GA, asks: Shouldn't prisons exist to rehabilitate criminals and not merely punish those who are incarcerated? Would taking away parole take away the hope that offenders will ever reform themselves?
Georgia State Senator Sonny Perdue responds:
Indeed, prisons serve a dual role: punishment and rehabilitation. The punishment component is fairly obvious. Rehabilitation is the often contentious issue. Once again, however, I believe if inmates know that they will be returning to the real world in eight years instead of five to fifteen, then that provides a higher incentive for rehabilitation... for learning the real world skills that will earn an ex-convict a real world job with accompanying real world responsibilities.
And if prison systems know the amount of time that an inmate will be incarcerated, rather than rolling the dice with the parole system, they can more easily fashion a system of rehabilitative education that will smooth the transition from prison life to the free world, reform the prisoner, and in turn, reduce recidivism.
Jim Wetherington, Vice Chair of the Georgia Parole Board, responds:
The people in prison are being punished when they are locked up, made to work without compensation and required to conform to the rules and regulations of the penal institutions. Parole is a mechanism for requiring inmates to participate in programs which will increase their chances for success when released.