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Letter: At what point do we say we’ve had enough of the seemingly endless cycle of crime/arrest/conviction/parole leading to innocent people being injured or killed?

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) People gather for a memorial walk on the track where University of Utah student and track athlete Lauren McCluskey used to compete on the two-year anniversary of her murder on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020.

Having first reached out to my state representatives four years ago on the issue of convicted criminals being paroled, in some cases multiple times, only to be released to commit violent acts again, I now turn to the public in the hope that greater awareness will force some action on their part.

My initial correspondence concerned the murder of Lauren McCluskey by parolee Melvin Rowland. If you listen to the recording of his parole hearing, you might think you were listening to a conversation between friends — not one between a convicted criminal and the parole board charged with assessing the appropriateness of his release from prison. I found the levity of the dialog concerning and brought this concern, along with that of another parolee recently charged with another violent crime, to my state legislator who encouragingly offered to request the state auditor to investigate. I heard nothing further despite repeated emails.

Since then I’ve lost count of the number of news reports and articles where a paroled criminal has again been arrested/convicted for committing another violent crime. The most recent high-profile example being that of Aaron Lowe’s murderer — twice paroled previously after having been incarcerated for violent felonies.

At what point do we say we’ve had enough of the seemingly endless cycle of crime/arrest/conviction/parole leading to innocent people being injured or killed? I call on all our state authorities to investigate and take appropriate action to curtail unwarranted paroles in the future, so we are less likely to hear about tragedies like Lauren’s and Aaron’s again. This has got to stop.

Marc Cronan, Salt Lake City

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