Did Russell Obremski deserve freedom, even after 24 years behind bars? For many Americans, parole is a controversial issue. In response to calls for a tougher stance on crime, many states have abolished parole, and others are considering such a step. Here are a few sites that will help you figure out what you think about this topic.
The National Victim Center: This group serves as a national resource transfer station for the over 8,000 victim advocacy and criminal justice organizations around the country. The site has lists of resources that will help you deal with victims, and with the experience of being a victim.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons: This site offers information on how to find any inmate in the country, up-to-date statistics on the numbers of inmates in each prison, a history of Alcatraz, a copy of the Federal prison budget, and a page of relevant links.
Obremski, awed by his new freedom. (CBS)
American Probation and Parole Association: The trade organization for parole officers has created a web site about "community-based corrections," as parole and probation are sometimes called. Part of this site is career information for corrections officers, but there is also information for anyone interested in relevant issues: explanations of the rationale behind parole, position papers on prevention, drugs, caseloads, and warning signs.
The pin Obremski received to mark the time he'd served. (CBS)
The National Parole Commission: Although parole for federal inmates was abolished over ten years, many prisoners, grandfathered out of this law's reach, are still eligible. Consequently, this body, which is part of the Department of Justice, still exists. Its site does a good job of explaining the theory behind parole.
ParoleWatch: This group is dedicated to keeping prisoners in prison and not on parole. The site has links to parole boards and commissions of many states, as well as links to a wide variety of other pages related to victims and crime. There is an archive of news stories about the group, as well as a list of ways you can get involved.
The National Prison Project: Not everyone wants to lock 'em up and throw away the key. Started by the American Civil Liberties Union, this undertaking tries to alleviate prison overcrowing, as well as strengthen prisoners' rights, through public education and lawsuits. The site has a history of prison litigation, as well as a list of prison-related lawsuits in each state.
written by David Kohn