Your assignment is to read the case scenario regarding the parole request of the inmate Alexander I. Mason, including the eight (8) facts/assumptions already listed below. Use the following scenario to assist you as an agent for the state parole board in making a decision to grant, or deny a discretionary release or parole to the principle of the scenario.
You are a member of the state parole board and in that capacity you are authorized to grant a discretionary release of inmates from the prison. You have been on the parole board for two (2) years along with three (3) other parole board members. You are about to hear Alexander I. Mason’s request for parole. Alexander is up for parole for the second time. He is presently serving a fifteen (15) year sentence for armed burglary in a medium security facility, and has completed 4 years, and 6 months. The following is a synopsis of his background:
Alexander I. Mason
Alexander I. Mason is a male, white, age 35 had begun serving his sentence in a maximum-security facility for the first three years of his 15-year sentence for the offense of armed burglary. At the intake center of the prison, which lasted for four (4) weeks, Alexander was interviewed by the prison classification staff to determine his initial classification. During the multitude of interviews, Alexander reported dropping out of high school after he had turned 16 years of age and blaming his youthful ignorance and hanging with the wrong crowd for most of his involvement in criminal behavior and drugs. He has admitted to smoking marijuana, doing cocaine, crack and heroin through counseling efforts of peer mentoring and group therapy. He has completed several prison programs dealing with anger management and drug intervention which seemed to having some affect.
His transition into prison life was hard for him this time. He engage in some prison rule violations which landed him confinement. During his integration into the prison his rule violations caused him to lose his visitation, commissary and library privileges for short periods of time. In the last 4-½ years, Alexander was placed in administrative segregation several times. The first two (2) times were for fighting; he was involved with another inmate, who allegedly made sexual advances toward him. As a result, he received one week of administrative segregation and forfeited thirteen (13) days of good time. The second time, had something to do with a prison gang member, but the reason was never divulged. This time he was placed in administrative segregation for two (2) weeks, and seventeen (17) days of good time was removed from his record. Alexander was allowed a face-to-face visit with his girlfriend after he was subjected to a skin shake body search. Immediately after the visitation, Alexander was subjected to a shakedown search and was found in possession of a small bag of cannabis and a small folding knife. The third time he was placed in administrative segregation after a disciplinary hearing where he was given administrative segregation for three (3) weeks, and lost visitation rights for three (3) months. The last time was 13 months ago, when he got into a physical altercation with his cellmate because his cellmate made an inappropriate comment about his girlfriend. He was again placed in segregation for thirty (30) days and lost twenty (20) days of good time.
Alexander has participated in many prison vocational programs, and recently has been accepted in a master furniture maker program where he works in the industrial arts area of the prison four (4) days a week. The mentoring program couples Alexander with a master furniture maker who shares his skills of furniture refinishing or making skills with him. In doing so, he has earned enough money credits to purchase the small incidentals that he wants from the prison canteen (commissary). He participates in the religious programs at the prison on Sunday morning in a non-denominational church service.
Alexander was recently moved into a medium security facility after his annual reclassification hearing allowing him to work on finishing his high school diploma. He is hopeful to begin to pursue an Associate of Arts Degree being offered at a local community college through an internet-based distant learning program. On a similar note, he has asked the superintendent of the prison school for permission, which was granted, to begin tutoring other inmates working toward their general equivalency diploma (GED).
Alexander has had several run-ins with the law while a juvenile, but was never been held in a juvenile detention facility. As an adult he had been arrested several times, (see below criminal history), and has served a variety of sentences.
ADULT CRIMINAL RECORD:
Alexander’s criminal history is provided to give insight into his adult past and should not be used in determining his parole eligibility. Criminal history of past events are not transferable into present events.
Offense:Age:Disposition:Shoplifting 17 Supervision17SupervisionGrand Theft17Found not guiltyDriving while under the influence (DUI): Alcohol and Cannabis18One-year supervision with 6 months revocation of his driver’s license.Burglary to vehicle19Restitution and SupervisionGrand Theft Auto21ProbationDomestic Battery22Case was dropped without prosecutionPossession of Cannabis22Fine only offensePossession of Controlled Substance232 years felony probationAggravated Battery Violation of Probation241 year prison followed by 5 years felony probation
Additional Facts of the Case:
- Alexander I. Mason has a significant criminal record that has shown his personal acceptance of his criminal behavior, which has progressively escalated in nature.
- Alexander I. Mason’s counselor reports considerable progress. There has been a significant change in his attitude evident during group and individual therapy sessions.
- At the present time he has accumulated forty-three (43) days of good time.
- The inmate has made steps to finish his high school diploma or general equivalence diploma (GED) through a prison educational program.
- During individual therapy sessions with the counselor, Alexander has admitted previously, to using a variety of controlled substances prior to incarceration.
- Although he is making progress in therapy, the counselor has some concerns about what she believes is unresolved trauma from his childhood.
- The victim of the case is traumatized and requests that he remain incarcerated. She provided a horrific account of the incident and the effects that it has had on her and her family.
- Jail staff testified that they have noticed a significant change in him over the last year. He has been compliant and has not given them any issues.
Prepare a list of questions that you will ask Alexander during the parole hearing. Ensure that the questions are meaningful as his answers could assist your with your decision. Please list the questions that you would ask and the reasoning for these questions (i.e. how will it help you with your decision).
You as the state parole agent, are to given the responsibility to determine if Alexander I. Mason is to be granted or denied a discretionary release from prison. Keeping in mind the information supplied in the scenario, evaluate the scenario and determine an appropriate solution or disposition for Alexander I. Mason’s case. Be very explicit in your decision-making process! You must consider all factors described in the lesson when making your decision. If granting the discretionary release from prison you should consider the conditions of release under the parole agreement that will apply to Alexander. If you are denying his discretionary release you should consider when his next parole hearing date and those additional issues that Alexander needs to work on to improve his opportunity for parole in the future.
If you are going to release the prisoner on parole:
1. Structure the parole over the total length of time until the sentence is expired.
2. List and explain the conditions of parole as you know them to be.
3. Supply the reasoning behind your decision to release. Include details and support.
If you are NOT going to release the prisoner on parole:
1. Estimate when the next parole hearing will be, six (6) months, one (1) year, or eighteen (18) months, etc.
2. Explain what things Alexander will need to continue working on to improve his opportunity for parole in the future.
3. Supply the reasoning why you are not going to release him. Include details and support.
Imagine that you are Alexander I. Mason and you have just been released from prison on parole after having served six (6) years. What are the first things that you will do? What problems do you think that you will face upon your reentry into the community? What do you see as posing the greatest risks of committing crimes again?