Obese Sex Offender Gets Parole; Release in ’82 Raised Furor

Associated Press

An obese sex offender whose brief release from prison because of his size prompted national outrage in 1982 has been granted a parole date after serving three years of a 15-year sentence, an official said Wednesday.

Joseph A. (Jo-Jo) Giorgianni, 35, was granted a parole date of Dec. 17 after a hearing at Leesburg State Prison, where he lost 64 pounds down to a present weight of 429 pounds, said Christopher Dietz, chairman of the New Jersey State Parole Board.

Giorgianni won a brief release from prison in August, 1982, after he convinced Superior Court Judge Richard J.S. Barlow Jr. that his life was endangered by life behind bars. He contended that a lack of air conditioning could kill him and that he suffered from asthma, breathing interruptions in his sleep and other weight-related ailments.

Barlow reduced his 15-year sentence to three years of probation and a $2,000 fine, but reinstated the original sentence amid an avalanche of national protest after the county prosecutor’s office appealed.


Last fall, Giorgianni was moved from a cell to a dormitory-style housing unit with 25 other inmates. The unit is air-conditioned.