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Colorado Prisoners Passing Up Parole

More than 2,500 Colorado state prisoners opted to stay in prison rather than ask for parole during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1997. More than 20 percent of those who waived parole hearings were close to ending their full sentence, usually within six months to a year. But most of the rest skipped their parole hearings because they knew they would be turned down anyway, said DOC spokesperson Liz McDonough.

"A lot of these people know they're not going to get paroled," said McDonough, "so they just don't go through the disappointment and heartache of a hearing."

The Colorado state parole board conducted 13,292 parole hearings in FY 1996-97. They granted 3,273 paroles. The 2,547 prisoners refusing to attend parole hearings was a 22.5 percent increase over the previous year.

Colorado prisoners are technically eligible for parole after serving half their sentence, said Bob Sylvester, the manager of Dismas House, a Denver halfway house for parolees. But the parole board is making most prisoners serve at least 70 percent of their time, said Sylvester.

Rocky Mountain News

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