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Senator Griffo, Assemblyman Brindisi push for full sentences for violent offenders

By JOLEEN FERRIS

(WKTV) - NYS Senator Joseph Griffo wants to give the parole department the strength to make sure the most violent offenders serve their maximum sentences.  But he and even his assembly colleague Anthony Brindisi acknowledge-it's going to be an uphill battle in the assembly.
      
Right now, a a model prisoner who signs the conditional terms of their release is freed after serving only 6/7 of their set, or, determinate sentence and 2/3 of their indeterminate sentence, without even having to go before the parole board.  
 
Serial rapist Robert Blaney was released after serving around two thirds of his 12 and a half to 25 year sentence for those reasons, in spite of the fact that he told the parole board that he posed a danger to society.  Griffo says it's the perfect example of why a law that would give parole the opportunity to ensure inmates serve the maximum is needed. 
    
"Where the board right now has no option at all but to release can say based on their expertise and in this case direct testimony that this person is a potential threat to society and we think should have to serve the complete term,"  says Griffo.
     
Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi is the bill's sponsor in the Assembly. But admits it's going to be an uphill battle, convincing his colleagues there to come on board.
   
"I'm of the opinion that if someone's a threat to society, they should be kept behind bars. There's different mentality in the downstate region," says Brindisi.
       
"This is something that really needs to be addressed," says Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara.
    
McNamara says victims, their family members and the community deserve to know exactly how much time an offender is going to serve. 
  
"Nobody even knows and half the time we don't even know what the person's really going to serve...we really need to get into a determinate sentence where the number means what it means," says McNamara. 
      

The Senate has passed the measure; it is unlikely that the Assembly will vote on it this session.  

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