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Tags: parole | crosetti brand | leann miller | jb pritzker
OPINION

Prisoner Review Boards Remain Flawed

parole definition
(Dreamstime)

Michael Letts By Wednesday, 27 March 2024 05:00 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

A recent parolee was accused of murdering an 11-year-old boy. Two resignations followed.

Whenever someone goes through prison reform, there is that hope that they'll change for the better. That after years of being locked away, they've "learned their lesson" and that they want to set out and actually make a difference in the world. That's the idea, anyway.

But some people just don't learn.

Case in point, Crosetti Brand, a 37-year-old in the middle of a 16-year sentence for home invasion and aggravated assault. He's seen an ongoing history of domestic violence and shouldn't have been eligible for release for many years.

But LeAnn Miller, a member of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, opted to conduct a hearing for him and managed to sign off with the Board to get him paroled early.

What should've been a story of giving someone a second chance is a reminder why parole boards need to be more diligent in who they set out onto the populace.

That's because, just a day following his release, Crosetti reportedly is accused of killing an 11-year-old boy and stabbing his pregnant ex-girlfriend. He has since been taken back into custody and charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

This is after Brand sent threatening text messages and showing up at his girlfriend’s residence, despite her seeking an order of protection against him.

Following the incident, Miller chose to resign from the board, as did chair Donald Shelton.

"The Prisoner Review Board must be able to operate independently as they review enormously difficult cases, but I believe LeAnn Miller has made the correct decision in stepping down from her role," Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. "It is clear that evidence in this case was not given the careful consideration that victims of domestic violence deserve and I am committed to ensuring additional safeguards and training are in place to prevent tragedies like this from happening again."

This is why prisoner review boards need to absolutely, positively be on the level when going over cases like this one. Anyone can look like he or she is ready for a second chance at life. However, upon closer inspection, it almost seemed like Crosetti was just itching at the chance to hurt someone, especially given his violent history.

There's a lot to look into here. What got them into prison in the first place? What kind of trouble have they gotten into? Who have they hurt in the past? Is it possible that they can hurt them again? What would be their motivations when they do end up getting out of jail?

Miller should have reviewed this more carefully. Even a slight oversight can have disastrous results, like what happened with that 11-year old who was merely trying to protect his mother from being attacked, only to end up dead.

Pritzker has promised that the board and the Illinois Department of Corrections will review rules and procedures, especially when it comes to cases surrounding domestic violence. It's absolutely imperative for the board to look into the potential of what could happen — and to make sure that everything is covered before giving it an ounce of consideration.

I especially say this now because things have gotten much worse in the United States. Criminal activity is at an all-time high in various states, mainly thanks to the lacking presence of police officers. (You can thank government budgeting for that, as some of them still haven't gotten over the "defund the police" campaign.) Not to mention the migrants that are now in the United States thanks to the Border Crisis.

Now more than ever, we need to be careful. We need to make sure that when we're granting paroles, we cover everything that comes with it. Not just overlook a factor and think, "Well, they've changed." Because there's a sliver of a chance that they haven't and that they're just itching to get out and cause more harm.

I'm not saying people don't deserve a second chance. But there are those who would rather take advantage of it to do the same old thing rather than make a change for the better. I've seen it way too often.

Michael Letts is the Founder and CEO of In-Vest USA, a national grassroots nonprofit organization helping to re-fund police by contributing thousands of bulletproof vests for police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs. He also has over 30 years of law enforcement experience. Read More Michael Letts reports — Here.

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MichaelLetts
Whenever someone goes through prison reform, there is that hope that after years of being locked away, they’ve “learned their lesson” and that they want to set out and actually make a difference in the world. That’s the idea, anyway. But some people just don’t learn.
parole, crosetti brand, leann miller, jb pritzker
751
2024-00-27
Wednesday, 27 March 2024 05:00 PM
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