Vacco Opposes Joel Steinberg Parole
Urges New Yorkers Speak Out On Child Killer's Possible Release Monday, December 22, 1997

Attorney General Dennis C. Vacco today called on the state Parole Board to deny Joel Steinberg's request for an early prison release, and urged New Yorkers to speak out on the child killer's parole request.

In a letter to state Parole Chairman Brion Travis, Attorney General Vacco called Steinberg a "despicable monster" who "has not yet paid his debt to society" for killing his never-adopted "daughter," Lisa, a decade ago, in a case that brought laser sharp focus to the problem of child abuse.

"Joel Steinberg should be forced to serve the maximum term of his sentence confined in a correctional facility of the state of New York. He has not yet paid his debt to society," Attorney General Vacco said.

"The short term of his incarceration is far from that necessary to ensure justice for his victims, and for those of us who care about the future safety of our children," Attorney General Vacco said.

Steinberg, who faces up to 25 years in prison for his role in Lisa's death, was first eligible for parole in 1995, but was turned down by the Board, which found that Steinberg had continued to deny responsibility for Lisa's death.

He is now scheduled to plead his case before the Board next month.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Vacco announced that he has created an Internet web page for New Yorkers to share their views on Steinberg's parole request.

Concerned citizens may also write to Attoreny General Vacco, The Capitol, Albany, New York 12224.

In his letter to Parole Chairman Travis, Attorney General Vacco said the Lisa Steinberg case, which shocked New York and the nation, had sparked historic reforms in state child protective laws.

Despite these reforms, however, hundreds more children have died, usually at the hands of a parent or guardian, since Lisa's 1987 death.

"We should not forget Lisa's sacrifice and the urgently needed reforms that her death sparked on behalf of abused children," Attorney General Vacco said.

As chairman of Governor Pataki's state Commission on Child Abuse, created in 1995 in the wake of another such tragic death, Attorney General Vacco has proposed additional sweeping reforms to increase the safety of children who are most vulnerable to abuse.

Attorney General Vacco said that Steinberg should again be denied parole release in order "to send a clear message about the serious nature and problem of child abuse."

He also cited the horrific nature of Steinberg's repeated and relentless beating of Lisa, who was just six years old at the time of her death as additional reasons for denying the release request.

Attorney General Vacco's letter to Parole Board Chairman Travis is attached, and also may be viewed on the Attorney General's World Wide Web site.