W&L Law’s Demleitner on Parole Decisions The Washington Post published a commentary by Nora Demleitner on reducing the influence of prosecutors and victims on parole decisions.
The Washington Post published a commentary by Nora V. Demleitner, Roy L. Steinheimer Jr. Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University. The opinion piece is titled “Virginia should roll back the punitive influence of prosecutors and victims on parole decisions.”
In the piece, Demleitner discusses the recent investigations into the Virginia Parole Board alleging the failure to consider required input from victim families and failure to inform them and prosecutors of pending releases. She argues that this is a good time to question the role victims and their families and prosecutors should play in parole hearings because of their outsize influence on the outcome.
“Deaths and serious crime leave a lasting impact that cannot be undone. Yet, when an offender becomes parole-eligible, retributive concerns should no longer play a role,” writes Demleitner. “Only in cases in which they could speak to reintegration and recidivism, such as when the incarcerated person recently threatened them, for example, is victim or prosecutor testimony relevant. Otherwise, their input does not advance the assessment of an incarcerated person’s future prospects. There are more meaningful opportunities for their participation and for society and the criminal justice system to show their support for victims. Release decisions are the wrong moment.”
Read the full commentary online.