Additional Thoughts about Medical Parole

by Tom Wolpert on April 17, 2022

Some Additional Thoughts About State Senator Sharif Street’s
Proposed Medical Parole Program for Pennsylvania Inmates

Issues to Consider with respect to extending medical parole in Pennsylvania:

How old is the individual? How much of the sentence has the incarcerated individual served? What proportion of that is his or her sentence?

Is the individual lucid, rational, self-aware, able to care for themselves, or do they have significant cognitive, physical or emotional deficits?

Have the interests of the victim or the victim’s family been vindicated, protected, or at least given serious and reasoned consideration?

Have the interests of the community with respect to community safety and the punishment of crime and consequences of crime, as exemplars and warnings, been vindicated, protected, or at least given serious and reasoned consideration?

Is the individual likely to pose a future risk for any reason, but in particular with respect to street violence, drug dealing, sexual assault, armed robbery, carjacking, weapons violations, domestic violence or engaging in sexual crimes or pornography involving children? How sure are we that such conduct is not going to be repeated?

Does it appear that we are treating like cases alike? Is the potential early release of this individual comparable to early releases implemented or being considered for other incarcerated individuals? This cannot be a game of money, favoritism and/or political influence.

How serious is the health condition of the individual? What is their life expectancy? How much future medical care is it likely that they will require? Can the provision of such care be provided by or through the state Dept. of Corrections, or is the medical care required not easily or practically attained within the DoC system?

Can this individual financially care for himself after release? Do they have someplace to live? What family or outside resources are available to this individual?

What is their disciplinary record while incarcerated? What does their overall or lifetime criminal record look like, including their juvenile record?

Without looking for some phony-baloney rehearsed recitation of remorse, sounding like a middle school speech contest, does the individual grasp what the problem is with his particular crime? Is there any sense of actual remorse, as opposed to pious speeches? If there is one or more victims involved in the crime, does the individual get that the victim counted too? That their lives were just as important to them? When a convenience store clerk or Uber driver get murdered for a pittance, when some dopey teenager gets murdered trying to buy or steal marijuana, when a girlfriend is killed in an angry, drunken quarrel – don’t their lives matter too? The victims of crime are generally not the rich and famous, and the acknowledgment of that from those seeking release from prison would make a difference, to me at least.

If I were asked to make such decisions, those are questions I would be asking.

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