Alabama parole hearings to resume in November

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles says parole hearings are expected to resume around November 1. The agency made the announcement Wednesday after hundreds of parole hearings had been postponed.

The agency said the postponements were necessary after the board's operations division could not ensure the new Parole Board Director Charlie Graddick that they were in compliance with a new notification law. The new law says victims of crimes must receive a 30-day notice prior to the parole hearings. It was signed in June and went into effect in September.

The Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles said a total of 627 hearings were postponed that had been scheduled for September and October.

Beth Shelburne with the Campaign for Smart Justice, ACLU says the decision to pause the parole hearings wasn't the best option. "Parole is one of the only remedies available for people that are stuck in this system, and to put a stop to it is sending us in the wrong direction," Shelburne said.

Director Graddick called it an "uncalled-for-situation."

Shelburne agrees that victims should be notified, but the process shouldn't postpone offenders' ability to get out of prison once their time is served.

"I think its important that victims be a a part of this process, but I think it's also important that offenders be given a chance to redeem themselves, to be rehabilitated, and to have a system that helps them find ways to get out of the criminal justice system, get out of our prisons and go back to our communities where they can be productive citizens."

Graddick says he expects to have the system up and running on, or around, November 1, 2019.

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