Politics & Government

State to eliminate parole for many juveniles

State to eliminate parole for many juveniles

Parole is being eliminated for about one-third of juvenile offenders in state custody under cost-saving measures to plug a projected $9 billion budget shortfall. The move will put kids convicted of crimes such as manslaughter, robbery and assault back into the community without that transitional help.

Last year, 470 kids were released onto “enhanced parole,” which will end July 1 under the state omnibus budget passed by the House and the Senate, Department of Social and Health Services spokesman Dan Robertson said Wednesday. The cut will save $5.3 million per year.

During the 20 weeks of the enhanced parole, juvenile offenders and their families meet with a parole counselor, who helps negotiate family issues as well as ensure the kids get mental health and drug treatment, enroll in school or find housing and work, he said.

“We don’t have any low-risk kids,” Robertson said. “It’s a tough thing for the agency and it’s a tough thing for the youth we’re releasing.”

Other types of parole, such as intensive parole and sex offender parole, were not cut.

Ian Demsky, The News Tribune