ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — About 11% of violent felony crimes this year in Monroe County were committed by people on parole. That’s based on data, to-date, from the District Attorney’s Office.

Now the District Attorney and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office are connecting this trend to criminal justice reform measures, saying changes need to be made, and quickly.

“We’re experiencing a catastrophe right in front of us and it doesn’t seem like we’re doing much about it,” said Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter.

Citing recent murder arrests of two separate individuals on parole, county leaders say they believe bail reform is one source of the problem.

“I guess what really brought it to the forefront was the arrest over the weekend of Justin Singleton; he was a parolee for the murder of Juan Perez and it brought the attention to the community that parolees are getting arrested for violent offenses, maybe at a rate that we’ve never seen before,” said Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley.

According to the DA’s office, to-date there have been 403 violent felony offenses, 45 of which were parolees. Of those 45 individual parolees, seven were charged with homicide.

With parole detainers no longer in place, which previously would give prosecutors time to build up a case, it’s a race against time to get cases prosecuted.

“We’re looking at the arrests, we’re quickly doing our investigation along with our law enforcement partners and we’re trying to secure indictments and hopefully get these cases before a court as soon as possible,” Doorley said.

“We have data and we simply just overlaid one data set on top of another and all we’re trying to show is that there’s some correlation,” Sheriff Baxter said. “They have to be interrelated somehow; doesn’t mean it’s the absolute cause of everything. There’s a lot of stuff that’s causing all this crap but I think criminal justice reform is one of them.”

Referencing overall increases in crime in Rochester this year, Sheriff Baxter is working on developing a group comprised of all types of individuals in an effort to generate ideas to make small changes where possible.

“I created a coalition of community members and other legislators that want to sit down and say hey how do we just modify things one step at a time? Right? And we’ve had some great meetings on that,” Sheriff Baxter says.

Another recent change, the “Less is More” act took effect on March 1st. That limits the types of violations a parole officer can charge.


Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story committed a comma between parole, and bail in the headline.