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Tough statistics at Exchange Club meeting

Michael Nail, executive director of the state board of pardons and paroles, had powerful statistics during his talk at Friday’s lunch meeting of the Exchange Club of Albany.

Michael Nail, executive director of the state board of pardons and paroles, had powerful statistics during his talk at Friday’s lunch meeting of the Exchange Club of Albany.

ALBANY, Ga. — A Georgia state parole official offered some staggering statistics about criminals at the Friday Exchange Club of Albany meeting.

Michael Nail, executive director of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, drove from his Atlanta office to speak at the civic club’s meeting.

Giving an overview of the system he oversees, Nail also dropped some tough statistics about criminals in the state.

“Nationwide, one person out of 32 is in some form of correctional supervision,” Nail said. “In Georgia, we have one person out of 13 in some form of correctional supervision.”

Nail said that roughly translates to about 460,000 people in some form of Georgia correctional supervision. In Dougherty County, Leslie Lamb, chief parole officer, said that there are 4,320 offenders currently on felony probation and 81 percent are men.

Lamb added that there are currently 538 offenders on parole, supervised from the Albany Parole Office and 473 currently live in Dougherty County with 91 percent male.

Correctional supervision ranges from death row and prison to misdemeanor probation supervision.

With the prisons running at 108 percent of capacity levels, there are about 60,000 felon inmates, Nail said.

Nail added, “In Georgia a prisoner must be considered for parole unless he has been sentenced to life without parole or a death sentence.”

The parole board comprises five members of various backgrounds appointed by the governor to serve seven years.

In order for a prisoner to be paroled, at minimum three board members must vote to allow it.

The prisoner undergoes an investigation into his reliability for parole, Nail said.

One of the criteria examined in the investigation includes the nature of the prisoner’s crime, as in whether it was violent. Also included for examination are criteria such as the length of incarceration and the likelihood of the prisoner reoffending.

“We make sure the ones on parole are the ones who pose the least danger to society,” Nail said.

Typically, according to Nail, sex offenders average serving 95 percent of their sentences, violent criminals serve 85-87 percent of their sentence on average, and criminals with drug or property crimes serve an average 67 percent of their sentence.

If a prisoner is paroled, two indicators that he will be successful at joining society as a productive member are employment in a suitable job and finding a suitable residence, a home, Nail said.

“Our job is to give help to the prisoner who wants to change and facilitate that change,” Nail said. “If not, we have a place for them.”