We Should Mourn Officer's Tragic Death and, to Do His Memory Justice, End Parole
by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani
His death reminds us once again of the tremendous sacrifices that police officers make every day. The City sends its prayers to Officer Mosomillo's wife Margaret, his two-year-old daughter Francesca, and his 11-year-old daughter Marie, and we pledge to never forget the sacrifices he made during his life or the ultimate sacrifice he made in death.
But if we are to honor Officer Mosomillo's tragic death with action as well as prayers, we must once and for all end the parole system that put his killer on the street. When a criminal is sentenced to time in prison by a judge, he should serve that time - not a third or a half of that time before being released on parole. In our current system, parole boards dilute nearly every punishment meted out by our justice system. Criminals wind up back on the street prematurely, where they commit crimes - and sometimes take lives.
It's time for New York State to replace parole with truth-in-sentencing, as 28 states and the federal government have already done. Those who perpetrate crimes, and society as a whole, must understand that the punishment will fit the crime. New York City remains far behind the curve - and it is costing us lives. The State Assembly has stalled for far too long. It's time for them to come to their senses and abolish this dangerous system.
In order to sustain and build upon the crime reductions of the last five years, which now exceed 70 percent in homicide and 48 percent in overall crime, we must pressure the State Legislature to end parole once and for all. A Police Department study shows that citywide crime would be reduced up to an additional 10 percent if New York State eliminated parole. On the other hand, if our legislature fails to act once again and keeps the old system in place, it will fundamentally jeopardize the many gains we've made.
Each time a parolee is responsible for a tragedy, we say that we shouldn't wait until the next tragedy to correct this imbalance in our criminal justice system. This time, let's keep this vow - and really end the dangerous system of parole for good.