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Local lawmaker demands change within Department of Corrections

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC)- A local lawmaker is demanding change within the New York State Department of Corrections after a parolee allegedly committed a violent sex crime two days after he was released from prison.

In a story that was first brought to you on News 8, 42-year-old Korane Womack is charged with criminal sex act and attempted criminal sex act for allegedly committing a rape and attempting to commit a rape on Sunday, October 18. Police say the attempted rape happened near Driving Park Ave., and Lake Ave., the rape allegedly happened near St. Paul Street. Womack was released from prison on Friday, October 16.

Womack served nine years behind bars for robbery. He was released in 2014 but returned two months later for violating parole. He was released on October 16 because he served 2/3 of his sentence but was arrested on October 18 for these alleged rape allegations.
 
Senator Rich Funke, a republican who works for the 55th district said all levels of government, police officers, DOCCS, parole officers, officials, etc. need to come together to come up with a comprehensive plan to fix the parole problem.
 
“When you have someone who has been to prison twice and gotten out twice allegedly committing another crime, it’s absolutely maddening,” Funke said. “It seems to me when a parolee, a violent felon is only required to serve 2/3 of the sentence then there is something wrong with that.” 
 
Funke and many other officials are upset that Womack was released on a Friday. In September, Governor Cuomo signed a bill that said prisoners should not be released on Fridays because it is believed to hinder “next day reporting” to a parole officer and many parolees go unaccounted for. The bill was created in part by Assemblyman Joe Morelle after a similar case involving a man named Michael Caruthers who was released from prison on a Friday and who raped a 14-year-old girl at the liberty pole the next day. The law took effect a week after Womack’s alleged crime, 30 days after Governor Cuomo signed the bill.
 
“The day the legislation is signed it should go into effect,” Funke said.
 
Funke also believes more parolees should be equipped with GPS’ and he believes there needs to be a better plan equipping parolees to make a crime-free transition into the community. 
 
The Mayor’s office released this statement to News 8, “The City of Rochester is working with the state to review how parolees are reentered back into our community. Yesterday a change went into effect to prevent high-risk parolees from being released on Fridays, something the City of Rochester advocated for. Ultimately all levels of government need to work together to ensure safer streets in every corner of our city.”
 

 

The Department of Corrections said they do not comment on on-going investigations. They acknowledged a few pilot programs that they say are happening  in Rochester to help the parole problem. 
 
The pilot programs DOCCS is referring to are listed below:
 
A pilot initiative called Recidivism Elimination Supervision Enhancement Teams (RESET) with the goal of reducing the number of parole violators returning to state custody by utilizing a system of monitoring focusing enhanced supervision resources on the highest risk individuals on parole immediately following release.  RESET focuses on critical factors like behavior change, substance abuse, mental health, health care, housing and other services that directly impact a parolee’s success. Since each parolee’s case is unique, the RESET initiative employs evidence based practices and tailors a parole officer’s supervision techniques specifically to a parolee’s individual needs.  

 

Also in the last year, DOCCS said they implemented the new Monroe County Enhanced Supervision Project. As part of an ongoing review process DOCCS has targeted two cohorts, parolees released within the last six months and Community Prep cases (cases still in DOCCS facilities). Those parolees identified at the highest level of risk to reoffend, are placed on an electronic monitor and supervised at a 20:1 caseload ratio. The next lower level of parolees will be supervised at a high level with a 25:1 caseload ratio. “

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