Pa. governor halts early inmate release

/ Source: The Associated Press

Gov. Ed Rendell on Monday halted the early release of state prison inmates, days after a recently paroled felon shot and killed a Philadelphia police officer.

The governor also named a Temple University professor to head a review of how the Corrections Department and parole board handled the suspects in the latest Philadelphia police slaying and another four months earlier.

Rendell said last week that the administration was reviewing the board's decision to release Daniel Giddings, who killed Philadelphia Officer Patrick McDonald last week before being killed by police. The review being led by John S. Goldkamp, a nationally recognized expert on incarceration, also includes the fatal shooting of Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski in May.

Liczbinski's killing happened just after Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey announced a major reorganization of the police department's command structure and the addition of nearly 250 officers on street patrols as part of a strategy to reduce crime.

Rendell said that shooting was committed by an offender on parole for robbery.

"We all understand it was the action of individual criminals that caused these deaths, however I need to know that we are doing everything we can to reduce the possibility of future reoccurrences," Rendell said in a letter to Goldkamp.

A Corrections Department spokeswoman said officials will follow the governor's direction to stop paroling prisoners until the review is complete. A time frame is not known.

John McNesby, president of the city's Fraternal Order of Police lodge, advocated similar actions. Of the nine city officers shot over the past year, five were shot by criminals under parole supervision, he said earlier Monday.