First published: Monday, March 31, 2008 Were New Yorkers put at risk when parole rates for violent offenders increased under former Gov. Eliot Spitzer? Until last week, the answer was still a cause for debate. Republican critics insisted that Mr. Spitzer, a Democrat, was placing the public in peril as more and more offenders were released back into society, where they might well return to their criminal ways.
At the time, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno was accusing Mr. Spitzer of being soft on crime, and demanding that a list of inmates and the dates they would be eligible for parole be posted on the Web site of the state Division of Parole. He also made this outrageous accusation: "This administration's philosophy seems to be very soft on criminals and they're doing everything and anything they can to get prisoners who have committed murders out of prison."
But supporters noted, correctly, that that parole decisions, far from representing a shift in policy under Mr. Spitzer, were being made by parole boards whose members were largely appointed by Mr. Spitzer's Republican predecessor, George Pataki.
Now the debate has been settled, or at least it should be. According to an Associated Press report reprinted in this newspaper last week, not one of the 456 violent felons paroled in the last four years is now back in prison for committing another crime after returning to society.
Real Cost of Prisons