Ninety-five percent of imprisoned West Virginians will return to society, and Marion County judge Michael Aloi is doing his part to help that transition lead to safer communities. Aloi was one of two judges from the state to attend a national summit on those issues.
“I’m very mindful of the fact that it’s my neighborhood, it’s my community that I’ve taken an oath to protect and keep safe,” said Aloi.
It’s been three years since the honorable Michael Aloi took over as the 16th Judicial Circuit Court Judge in Marion County. He recently represented West Virginia at the Justice Reinvestment National Summit in California, and was one of two judges from our state. Aloi said the summit was a great opportunity to see what other states are doing with justice reinvestment – meaning, taking a closer look at sentencing and sanctions while keeping public safety in mind.
“So when you have 95% of people returning to their community, then the question becomes, ‘What can we do effectively in the court system and in sentencing that will make our community safer?’” said Aloi.
One solution? Community corrections programs, which can include GPS monitoring, weekly drug testing, or a variety of services to help with anger management, substance abuse, and more.
“The numbers are pretty clear that those who are released early but provided services are less likely to commit crime again,” said Aloi.
Those findings come from evidence-based research and policies. Aloi said harsher sentences do not always decrease recidivism – the act of people who continue to commit crimes – but says it’s finding that balance that means a better outcome.
“And sometimes that means, quite frankly, separating individuals from the community for as long as I can, because they’re violent and they’re dangerous. Other times, there are others who are non-violent, and hopefully, rather than not commit crimes, they’ll become employed and become meaningful