Search About Support Us
Submitted 9:25 a.m.
07.18.2015
Letter to the Editor

The fact that our state and federal governments fail to train the individuals responsible for making life-altering decisions for inmates is appalling.”

Barbara Beck of Kalamazoo, Mich.

As a former human resources director in higher education, I was asked to be a member of the hiring and promotion committee for our public safety department. I was the only non-law enforcement individual on the team. Before I was permitted to participate in the interview and selection process, I received extensive training on critical law enforcement requirements such as probable cause, constitutional protections of a suspect, and the expectations law enforcement officers knew and upheld the rights of the accused.

Ironically, unlike most U.S. cities public safety departments, law enforcement employees working in higher education are often required to have at minimum, a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice or a related field and additional experience in law enforcement. Many institutions of higher learning also require an officer to obtain an advanced degree before (s)he can be promoted.

The fact that our state and federal governments fail to train the individuals responsible for making life-altering decisions for inmates is appalling. In my opinion, these individuals need to have extensive training in two areas prior to participating on a parole board; 1) knowledge of and experience in the law and the Constitutional protections afforded inmates and 2) a thorough understanding of psychopathic personality disorder. Psychopaths are master manipulators and unless a person is professionally trained to spot the behavioral characteristics of a psychopath, inmates suffering from this personality disorder can easily manipulate the “system” while charming the board into granting early release; a terrible mistake.

Robert Hare, PhD, and his colleagues have published extensive research on prison populations. Their data supports the fact parole boards often make poor decisions by granting charming, glib, and manipulative inmates parole while denying parole to offenders who do not have PPD and are far less likely to reoffend once released.

The electorate needs to demand our state and federal government officials provide the individuals responsible for making life-altering decisions impacting inmates and the public to obtain advanced training in both areas before placing them on a parole board.

 
This letter written in response to
News July 10, 2015
For example: Most states don’t require board members to have any experience with the criminal justice system.