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Kafkaesque Parole Practices Ruin Lives

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Headlined to H3 8/28/12

opednews.com

The perplexing predicament confronting Daryl Brooks could confound writers Albert Camus and Franz Kafka, two authors acclaimed for their works about individuals subjected to surreal forms of injustice.

Brooks, a community activist in Trenton, New Jersey, is facing a Kafkaesque return to prison because some NJ state parole personnel charged him with committing a parole violation that top NJ Parole Board officials contend is not a violation.

Top New Jersey State Parole Board officials acknowledge that "admission of guilt' by a person is not a condition for either a person's release from prison on parole or a person remaining on parole once released from prison.

Yet, some parole personnel are pushing hard to put Brooks back in prison for his failure to admit guilt despite top Parole Broad officials having said such an admission is not required for released parolees.

A top Parole Board executive, when responding to a news media inquiry in late June, responded "No" to a question about guilt admission being a condition for parole release or parole continuance. The Board's executive director recently affirmed that response.

Brooks is not alone in enduring Kafkaesque predicaments from parole authorities.

Thousands of persons across America either on parole or seeking parole encounter arbitrary and too often extrajudicial actions by parole personnel everyday resulting in reincarceration or continued incarceration.

Brooks, a 6'5'' man with an affable personality, maintains his innocence since his 1995 arrest on improbable sex assault charges, through his evidence-deficient 1998 trial, three year imprisonment and during a decade on parole.

However, when Parole Board personnel arrested Brooks this May, they charged him with violating conditions of his parole, citing his failure to admit guilt during counseling the Board forced him to undertake a few years ago despite years of infraction-free parole.

That arrest, curiously, occurred days after Brooks issued a press release that criticized failings in the Board's forced counseling following Brooks' observing how a sex offender who [allegedly] received little counseling-session treatment stalked some children in a park outside Trenton.

The Parole Boards website states the goal of its sex offender supervision "simply put"is to prevent further victimization."

Brook's May arrest forced him to spend his rent money on bail for release from jail resulting in his eviction.

In bashing Brooks for his supposed parole violation Parole personnel also barred him from the internet.

That internet ban shut down Brooks' top-rated "Today's News NJ" blog that republishes news articles and carries commentaries from other writers.

That ban also blocks Brooks from searching for employment that now widely requires online submission of job applications.

"The possibility of going back to prison for a crime I didn't do is terrible," Brooks said during a recent interview.

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Linn Washington is a weekly columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune and This Can't Be Happening. Washington writes frequently on inequities in the criminal justice system, ills in society and failings of the news media. He teaches multi-media urban (more...)
 
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