Police and parole officials say there have been no legal challenges to the tactics, which some precincts started using about two years ago.
Mr. Santana told parole officials that he had taken part in one of the assaults.
Ohio, for example, now requires an investigation by parole officials in advance of a governor's decision.
Of about 1,400 inmates found eligible for the program from 1995 through 1997, parole officials approved 1,218 for release.
Aside from suing or asking for a pardon, he cannot appeal today's ruling, parole officials said.
But parole officials are not bound by the guidelines.
"Florio asked parole officials to set a dangerous kidnapper free."
But parole officials feared he would end up in a shelter, relatively unsupervised.
Last week, more than six months after it was due, parole officials put together the paperwork necessary for a hearing.
But neighbors and even parole officials portrayed him as apparently conscientious after he left prison last July.