THE PHOENIX Are there other pieces of re-organization — you were able to reorganize the cabinet — but are there others that you have not been able to accomplish?
PATRICK Not so much. I mean, there's one pending right now that's sensitive, and that is probation and parole. And you know the — I'll just say this for your readers, or maybe you'll explain this in the body, but parole is in the executive branch, and probation is in the judicial branch. That is unusual. In most states, probation and parole are together, and in the executive branch. And the reason for that is that you want a step-down program. Remember that 95 percent or more of the people in prison come out. Right now, I think it is fair to say many of them come out more dangerous than when they went in, because they don't have facilities anymore or on large scale to step-down gradually — this is the term of art, step-down — step down gradually back into mainstream society. You do that through a combination of probation and parole. You're nodding your head, you understand this already.
THE PHOENIX One area of reform that hasn't happened is what you're talking about now — the whole criminal-justice system, the corrections and probation — and it seems like, what's likely to happen in this session is perhaps CORI [Criminal Offense Record Information] reform and maybe some sentencing reform. But is this an area where you're going to try to get that reform, whether it's this year or next session? And what needs to be included? How expansive?
PATRICK Oh, absolutely. You bet your life. I think the probation and parole consolidation is important. We got the predicate part of this, which is having the sheriffs a part of the unified executive — because they have an incredibly important role in this. So it's not like no steps have happened. We're making some progress.
I think probation is going to be hard for this legislature, because probation has been a patronage haven. It's the least transparent agency, to the point where if you ask them for data, they just don't give it to you. I mean, it's extraordinary. It's not accountable. I'm sure they're not all bad people, I'm not saying they're bad people, I'm just saying, they aren't accountable to anybody, and a lot of public money goes in there, and it's very hard to tell how it gets spent. I don't think that's the way it's supposed to be. So, I think there are reasons for good government, there are reasons for better programming, there are reasons for savings to do that.
I think CORI and sentencing reforms are important. Now, they have both passed out of the Senate, they're over on the House side now. In fact, the meeting I had just before you came in was with a bunch of legislators who are helping us move that. We're closer, I think, than we have ever been to CORI reform and I am working as hard as I can to get that. I think that's enormously important.
So yeah, there's definitely unfinished business around this, but like I said at the outset, why run for another term if there isn't unfinished business?