Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice

Kevin Reitz Interviewed on WVTF Public Radio for a 5-part series on "Crowded Prisons, Rare Parole"

Robina Institute Co-Director 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 stating, “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.”

The series 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, Reitz is quoted saying, “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.”

You can listen and read the series, here.

Learn more about the Robina Institutes research on parole release and revocation practices, here.