June 26, 2018
By Maria Cramer
Dominic Cinelli was one year out of prison and on parole when he shot and killed a police officer the day after Christmas in 2010.
Since then, the number of people released on parole has remained consistently low, the state parole board has been stacked with members with law enforcement backgrounds, and the board has become less transparent, according to a coalition of attorneys, criminal justice reform groups, and prisoner rights advocates.
The coalition wrote Governor Charlie Baker on Monday, saying the board is taking longer to decide the fate of inmates and failing to properly consider their mental health and drug use disorders.
A spokesman for Baker said the administration is reviewing the letter. According to parole board statistics, the panel last year voted to grant parole to 52 percent of prison inmates who came before it, and 68 percent of county jail inmates.
Critics said the parole board’s statistics are misleading because they do not take into account the number of people actually released on parole. The board often grants parole close to inmates’ scheduled release dates or places conditions for parole that inmates are unable to meet before their sentence ends, said Leslie Walker, executive director of Prisoners’ Legal Services.