The Downing Family’s Fight to Keep a Convicted Murderer Behind Bars
Boston Magazine - 01/21/2014
James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology, law, and public policy at Northeastern University, predicts that even if O’Brien were to go before the parole board to ask for parole release, he doubts it would ever happen. “It’s extremely slim. It’s rather difficult for murderers to get paroled on their first, even second attempt,” Fox said. “If you look at the recent history on successes of parole releases after the first attempt, and the later attempt, the rate of release is rather low.”
Fox said he thinks that the parole board is going to be “very conservative about granting parole,”given the shakeup in the system in 2011.
“Add to that any case that’s a high-profile case that will have lots of media attention paid to it—in those situations, the hesitancy will probably be heightened,” he said. “There is a difference between being parole eligible and being released. Someone like Eddie O’Brien isn’t likely to have a parole release. He was the catalyst for the law change, and his notoriety will never be forgotten, I suspect.”