Prof. Reitz Interviewed on WVTF Public Radio
Professor Kevin Reitz was recently interviewed by reporter Sandy Hausman of WVTF Public Radio on “Crowded Prisons, Rare Parole: A 5-Part Series.” This series examines Virginia's parole release practices: “It’s been more than 20 years since Virginia abolished parole, and over that time the prison population has grown to more than 30,000 people. Just over 10% of them committed crimes before the law changed, so they’re still eligible for parole, but few of them are getting out, and the state now spends more than a billion dollars a year on prisons and correctional programs.” “Crowded Prisons, Rare Parole: A 5-Part Series” also examines Virginia’s low rate of parole, questions parole hearings proceeding in private, asks why the parole board rarely paroles, looks at Virginia’s prison population, and concludes with a focus on drug offenses.
When discussing what might prevent parole board members from paroling an offender, Prof. Reitz says, “There is a feeling that if I [the parole board member] let this person out today and, God forbid, he or she goes on to do something terrible, then that’s on me [as a parole board member]. On the other hand, if I make the cautious decision and keep the person in, then there’s no risk to me. They [the parole board members] have a reasonably nice job, but if they make a mistake and let the wrong person out, that job could be gone tomorrow.”
Learn more about the Robina Institute's research on parole release and revocation practices here.