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UPDATE: Governor Ivey ‘cautiously optimistic’ about Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles’ amended action plan

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Governor Kay Ivey responded to WHNT News 19's request for reaction to the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles' amended corrective action plan. The governor released this statement Thursday:

“I am cautiously optimistic about the revised report, which seems to more objective and addresses some of the major issues that many have had with the Board of Pardons and Paroles. One highlight is that there has been a major improvement in the early parole process. There has been good progress overall, but we are still reviewing the entire report. Soon I will meet with Attorney General Marshall to discuss the report and what steps should be taken moving forward.”

This comes after Governor Kay Ivey signed an executive order calling for the board to draft a plan of action in October.

The Board of Pardons and Paroles submitted its first action plan in November, just one day shy of the 30-day deadline.

Governor Ivey said it left too many questions unanswered, and asked them to make further changes.

Ivey and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall asked for the plan after Jimmy O'Neal Spencer was paroled early.  Spencer was charged with murdering three people, including a seven-year-old child, only months after his release.

In October, the governor also temporarily suspended the state's early parole hearings in efforts to prevent the board from paroling any other potentially dangerous criminals like Spencer.

The board submitted its revised plan Friday, December 28.

Some of the changes include:

  • New criteria for early parole consideration
  • A plan to closely maintain supervision of parolees
  • Looking to create special programs statewide to reduce Alabama’s recidivism rate

The state board plans to establish an electronic system to calculate parole eligibility. There is a scheduled visit to Georgia Parole Board in early 2019 to learn their electronic system processes.

The board also realized that a contact phone number listed on official letterhead was inactive. They have since reactivated the line.

All managers, field managers and agency directors will be required to participate in leadership training at Troy University in early 2019.

There are also several amendments to the board's interactions with victims of crimes.
The board plans to require training for the victim service’s unit, in efforts to help the board understand the perspectives of victims to increase patience and compassion.
Governor Ivey requested the board's Executive Leadership Team meet monthly so concerns can be addressed in a timely manner.
They plan to collaborate with mental health and corrections departments to work for solutions for people who might not be incarcerated if their mental health issue was properly addressed.
The board's assistant director of board operations established a committee to identify customer service improvement needs.
The governor's moratorium, that suspended all early parole hearings for months, has now been lifted.

The next step is waiting for the plan to either be approved or denied by the governor and attorney general.

You can view the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles' revised plan here.

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