For Immediate Release - March 04, 2011

GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES FOUR NOMINEES TO STATE PAROLE BOARD

Part of efforts to rebuild public confidence, restore integrity in parole

BOSTON - Friday, March 4, 2011 - Governor Deval Patrick today announced his four nominees to the state Parole Board including a forensic psychologist, a victim advocate, a former federal chief probation officer and an attorney experienced in parole issues.

"These nominees bring a broad range of experience and perspectives to the work of parole," said Governor Patrick. "Working with the new Chairman, Josh Wall, and the other board members and staff, they will rebuild the public's confidence in the parole system."

The nominees are:

  • Dr. Charlene Bonner; forensic psychologist serving the Plymouth County courts and former court psychologist for Middlesex County Juvenile Court; experienced in conducting court-ordered offender evaluations for substance abuse, criminal responsibility, and psychological testing.
  • Lucy Soto-Abbe; seventeen-year victim advocate in the Hampden County District Attorney's Office, with extensive experience providing services to victims, witnesses and family members. Ms. Soto also has a master's degree in forensic psychology.
  • John Bocon; former chief probation officer in the U.S. Probation Office in Boston, where he managed more than 60 probation officers and staff, supervising probationers, parolees and offenders on supervised release.
  • Ina Howard-Hogan, general counsel to the Massachusetts Parole Board, responsible for providing legal advice and litigation services on behalf of the agency. Former assistant attorney general in the Criminal Bureau of the Office of the Attorney General in Boston; former federal probation officer for the U.S. District Court in Boston.

Pending confirmation by the Governor's Council, the nominees announced today will fill the four vacant seats on the board.

Governor Patrick has taken several actions this year relative to the state Parole Board based on recommendations from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, and its review of the Parole Board and findings in the case of Dominic Cinelli. Earlier this year, the Governor accepted the resignation of the Parole Board Chairman and the remaining four board members who voted to parole Mr. Cinelli, as well as the Executive Director of the Parole Board when Mr. Cinelli was paroled.

In February, the Governor's Council confirmed former first assistant district attorney for Suffolk County, Josh Wall as Chair of the Board. Governor Patrick has tasked Wall and a new management team to thoroughly examine Parole Board practices and revise supervision standards. The team is prioritizing policies affecting the highest-risk offenders and prisoners serving life terms. Lifer hearings will resume once new board members are in place and the new management team completes its review of this process.

Governor Patrick has also filed legislation to strengthen the habitual offender law to require that violent felons with two prior serious convictions receive the maximum sentence for a third felony. This legislation will also require "truth-in-sentencing" for those serving life sentences, and will codify the use of risk assessment tools in all future parole decisions.

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