Thursday, Mar. 29, 2012
Tricia M. Oliver
Massachusetts Parole Board Chair Joshua Wall.
Wall addresses MBA delegates, remarks aim to dispel misperceptions of Parole
The MBA House of Delegates welcomed Massachusetts Parole Board
Chairman Joshua Wall as a guest speaker at its March 22 meeting at
UMass Lowell. Wall shared perspective and insight gained in the 13
months since assuming his leadership post following Gov. Deval
Patrick's dismissal of all but one member of the former board.
Prior to the controversy of granting parole to Dominic Cinelli,
a career criminal, accused of murdering Woburn officer John McGuire
during a botched robbery, the Massachusetts Parole Board acted in
"near anonymity," Wall said. However, he was quick to point out
early in his remarks that "we are not, nor have we been involved in
a 'crack-down' on parole" in the commonwealth.
As directed by the governor, Wall explained that his goals have
been on rebuilding a more productive, efficient parole system, and
more careful attention paid to parolees who have committed murder
as well as those with lengthy, serious criminal records.
Wall explained that he has worked to change the culture at the
Parole Board. "We are going to do something better," he said.
Commending Patrick's choices for the other members comprising
the board, Wall pointed out that he is the first chair with
experience in managing a government agency. Wall, 52, is a veteran
Suffolk County prosecutor. He began working in the Suffolk District
Attorney's office in 1993 and served as chief of the Child
Protection Unit, Major Felony Unit and Senior Trial Unit. When
District Attorney Daniel F. Conley took office in 2002, he promoted
Wall to the position of first assistant and supervisor of all
Superior Court prosecutions.
On the current Parole Board, Wall is joined by a forensic
psychologist and a corrections professional, among others with
highly relevant experience. He said that having this caliber of
expertise has been significantly beneficial to improving the board
and its practices.
He also stressed the amount and level of training undertaken by
the group. According to Wall, by June 1, the complete board will
have participated in 50 trainings. Said Wall, "We are not just
picking parolees, we are trying to make sure they succeed,"
following re-entry into society.
In addition to Wall's remarks, MBA delegates were also greeted
to UMass Lowell by Provost Ahmed Abdelal. Abdelal explained that
UMass Lowell has invested nearly $300 million in construction
recently, a sign that the campus is getting stronger. He said the
UMass Lowell is "less expensive and better that many of the places
that we think about."
The provost also spoke to the international focus of the
university. "We want our students to be globally knowledgeable and
prepared," he said.
Other activity at the March 22 meeting included an informational
report from chairs of the MBA Task Force on Law, the Economy and
Underemployment; approval of the proposed slate of 2012 Access to
Justice Awardees; a vote in favor of the MBA submitting an amicus
brief relative to a case involving judicial privilege now before
the Supreme Judicial Court, and a vote against supporting in
principle the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.
The final HOD meeting of the 2011-12 association year will take
place at UMass Boston on Thursday, May 17.