July 07, 2005,
The time has come to end, not mend, parole.
Bad guys routinely leave prison early, then surprise! resume their evil ways, piling up ruined lives and cadavers from coast to coast. Locking up violent criminals and pedophiles for 100 percent of their sentences would help curb this carnage.
Consider these portraits of pain:
Joseph Edward Duncan III the Fargo, North Dakota man currently in the news for allegedly kidnapping eight-year-old Shasta Groene and possibly killing her nine-year-old brother, Dylan began his lawlessness early in life. The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that Duncan was charged with stealing four handguns from a neighbor's home in Tacoma, Washington in January 1980. That day, then-16-year-old Duncan raped a 14-year-old boy at gunpoint, twice, and burned him with a cigarette. Duncan pleaded guilty to first-degree rape and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. After 14 years, he was paroled in September 1994. By April 1997, however, Duncan was back in prison for violating parole.
After a regular release in July 2000, Duncan apparently behaved himself, then got caught, police say, at a Minnesota middle-school playground last July where he approached two little boys with a video camera, then sexually fondled one of them, age six. Duncan posted a $15,000 bond for that violation in April and was told to stay in contact with authorities. Last May, he vanished. Now he is on TV screens across America, charged with Shasta Groene's kidnapping and under investigation for the bludgeoning deaths of her mother, Brenda, her brother, Slade, and her mother's boyfriend, Mark McKenzie, at the home they shared in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
Roy Williams's rap sheet includes juvenile offenses, a 1997 criminal weapons-possession conviction (from which he was paroled), and a four-and-a-half to nine-year drug-sale sentence that ended December 20, 2004 after 26 months in jail. Last January 4, just 15 days later, Williams allegedly robbed a Queens, New York bank. Eight days afterward, police say, he raped a woman in her car. The next day, cops add, Williams broke the nose and cut the cheek of Sister Margaret Faherty, 69, while pistol-whipping her.
Despite a 2001 attempted-robbery conviction, and a second robbery that ended his intervening parole and returned him to jail, Shamduh Wilson, then 21, automatically was re-paroled after completing 6/7 of his two-year sentence on December 6, 2004. During a January 4, 2005 altercation at Brooklyn's Star Deli, police told the New York Post, Wilson shot and wounded a male, 22. Wilson's single bullet maintained its trajectory right into the skull of Kenneth Frasier, 38, a law-abiding deli customer. Frasier's 8-year-old daughter witnessed her father's homicide that evening.
Daniel J. Harper, then 28, was paroled last October 27 from a California prison where he served time for carjacking and assault with a deadly weapon. Three days later, authorities say, he kidnapped a Sacramento-area hospital worker, age 52, commandeered her Toyota Corolla, forced her to make an ATM withdrawal, attempted to assault her sexually, beat her, slashed her throat, set her ablaze, ditched her, led police on a car chase, then plowed into a motor home before being arrested. The battered, burned victim survived.
Texan Larry Don McQuay was sentenced in 1990 to eight years' incarceration for having oral sex with a six-year-old boy. Six years later, he was released to a halfway house in April 1996. That August, he was arrested for having molested his first victim's nine-year-old sister in 1989. Fresh evidence merited a new, 20-year sentence, applied June 1997. Eight years later, McQuay has left Huntsville state prison, thanks to "good behavior." Since May 3, he has been in the Super Intensive Supervision Program at San Antonio's Bexar County Jail. He will wear an ankle bracelet through July 31, 2016, and recently indicated that he was medically castrated.
Nonetheless, McQuay is now closer to children, against whom he claims to have committed 240 sex crimes. In an April 28, 1995 letter, McQuay told Andy Kahan of the Mayor's Crime Victim's Office in Houston: "I believe without adequate treatment I am doomed to eventually raping and then murdering my poor little victims to keep them from telling on me."
Such outrages are not merely anecdotal. A federal Bureau of Justice Statistics report, Probation and Parole in the United States, 2003, delivers the cold, hard facts about the many parolees' who use their new-found freedom to inflict mayhem on others.
As of December 31, 2003, precisely 774,588 Americans were on federal (86,459) and state (688,129) parole. Of these, 95 percent were convicted felons. Mandatory-release policies sprang 51 percent (237,500) of these parolees in 2003, versus 45 percent in 1995. BJS described 28 percent of this population (216,884) as "violent" offenders.
Whether or not these parolees resumed their criminal careers was a coin toss.
"Of the more than 470,500 parolees discharged from supervision in 2003, 47 percent had successfully met the conditions of their supervision," authors Lauren E. Glaze and Seri Palla explained in July 2004. "Of those parolees discharged in 2003, 38 percent had been returned to incarceration either because of a rule violation or new offense. Another 9 percent had absconded."
So, when the average convicted felon leaves prison, the odds are even that he will be right back, or simply disappear.
These probabilities are deadly. "Good behavior" is a breeze when violent criminals and pederasts are encircled by armed guards, snarling German shepherds, and concertina wire. Until they complete 100 percent of their sentences, such offenders should make themselves at home in those surroundings.
Deroy Murdock is a New York-based columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a senior fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in Fairfax, Virginia.