2016-05-05 / Front Page

Saladino asks public to support passage of a law to keep violent offenders behind bars

The New York State Senate passed a bill that would limit the number of times a violent offender can appeal to the New York State Parole Board for release. Now, New York State Assemblyman Joseph Saladino and his colleagues in the Assembly are urging the public to speak out and support passage of the measure in the Assembly, which would then become law.

Currently convicted criminals are entitled to a hearing before the New York State Parole Board once every two years. The change, if passed by the legislature, would extend that to once every five years for those convicted of violent offenses.  

When those who have been convicted of murder, rape or other very serious felonies request a parole hearing in an attempt to be released from prison, the victims’ families are forced relive the hardship of the crime by writing letters, acquiring documentation and providing details of the heinous crime committed to their loved ones, explained Saladino. In many cases the Parole Board won’t be granting parole under any circumstances, so putting the families through this terrible and traumatic experience is unnecessary.

 “By enacting this legislation we show respect and compassion to the families of these victims, many of whom were murdered, and ensure safety in our communities by keeping murderers and violent sex offenders behind bars where they belong for a longer period of time,” he said.

The legislation, A.1680-A, is sponsored by Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. (D-District 1) and is co sponsored by Saladino.

Margaret and Joe Hennessey, former Shirley residents whose daughter Lorraine was strangled and mutilated by her fiancé, Christ Patterson in 1988, also attended the press conference recently to press for Assembly passage of the bill. Patterson has been denied parole six times since sentencing and is eligible to re-apply for parole in August 2015.

“The agony of reliving my daughter’s death every 24 months is unbearable for me and my family. I suffer from cardiac arrhythmia, have a pace maker and I have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome. I pray that this legislation becomes a law to give grieving parents and families a chance to recover before the next parole hearings begin.”

 “The pain and agony of frequent parole hearings, I believe, is inhumane,” said Joe Hennessey. I feel that the enactment of this legislation may alleviate the continuous suffering of grieving families who must endure the most heinous acts of murder.”

 “To hear the stories of parents whose children were abused, tortured and murdered at the hands of these criminals is absolutely heartbreaking,” said Saladino, adding that the dynamic of five-year intervals and more control by the Parole Board has worked in other states.

 This legislation, which has passed in the state Senate, needs more public support to be passed by the New York State Assembly and become law, said Saladino.  Anyone who would like more information on the proposed law can call Saladino’s office at 516-541-4598.

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