Senator Nozzolio Announces Passage Of Measure To Abolish Early Release Commissions

Michael F. Nozzolio

May 17, 2005

Albany – Citing a case in Cayuga County in which a convicted rapist was released from prison early, New York State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio (R,C-Fayette), Chairman of the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee announced that the State Senate acted today on legislation he is sponsoring (S.3689) that would abolish local Early Release Commissions that have the authority to release convicted criminals before they have served their full sentence.

“Early Release Commissions have the power to hand out “Get Out of Jail Free” cards and they must be eliminated,” Senator Nozzolio said. “By releasing criminals early, these commissions are not holding individuals responsible for the crimes they commit. New York State cannot allow criminals to be put back on the street before they have done their time.”

In 2001, the Cayuga County Early Release Commission let a convicted and admitted sex offender who sexually abused a 16 year old girl out of prison after serving only a few months.

“The decision by the Cayuga County Early Release Commission to give early release to a convicted sex offender is a complete injustice and put children in our area at risk,” continued Nozzolio.

Current state law, enacted in 1989, requires local conditional release commissions be established in every county and the City of New York. These commissions are authorized to release inmates from local jails after they have served a portion of their sentence. The law does not specify standards or criteria to be considered by these commissions in determining eligibility of inmates for release. The lack of standards in determining eligibility for release has caused the public to question the value and need for these commissions. According to the Department of Probation and Correctional Alternatives, 77 inmates were released statewide by these commissions last year.

“The lack of standards governing these commissions, the infrequency of use of the power to release inmates and the questions raised by the public as to the need for these commissions clearly indicate that the power of these commissions to release inmates should be terminated immediately,” Senator Nozzolio concluded.