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Massachusetts Breaks Tradition, Terminating Parole For 13 People

In Massachusetts, where only one person received a parole termination since 2018, 13 people recently had their parole terminated by the Massachusetts Parole Board, the WGBH News Center reports. One of them, Harold Adams, spent more than half a century in the state’s criminal justice system, with 22 of them being on parole. He spent those two decades checking in with a parole officer at least once a month, restricted from free travel, wary of random searches and, until recently, paying $85 a month in monthly parole fees. But in October, Adams received the good news that his parole had finally been terminated. “It didn’t sink in immediately,’’ Adams said. “It was sort of surreal. Thinking in terms of the things that I can now do.”

While still a small number in proportion to the estimated 1,350 people currently on parole, prisoners and their advocates say the change is significant. The state’s parole system has long been considered problematic, including concerns about long waits to release people after they’ve been approved for parole, putting people back in prison for minor violations and keeping people like Adams on parole for decades. Under their conditional freedom, former prisoners have to live up to a set of rules, often tailored to them and their crime. Parole supervision generally ends when a former prisoner’s set term ends, or in rare circumstances, through parole termination.


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