Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles releases January progress report

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles touts several improved strategies in their January status report for its approved corrective action plan. Governor Kay Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall mandated the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles provide monthly reports following a demand for change within the board by the governor and AG.

According to the report, the board says they sought advice from the Alabama State Personnel Department regarding evaluations of the board’s leadership. The Executive Leadership Team reportedly adopted a new policy for ‘Review Committee Objective Criteria. That is laid out below:

  • An inmate must serve a minimum of five years
  • Complete a prison rehab program
  • Get specific letters of support from at least one of the following – office that prosecuted the inmate’s case, victim or victim’s representative, attorney general’s office, sentencing judge or successor, law enforcement officer from the county of conviction
  • Have a positive report from a department of corrections’ staff member
  • No disciplinaries in the last three years
  • No violent infractions during their current sentence

Then, a review committee made up of no fewer than five people, including senior probation and parole officers, will decide whether to recommend early parole to a deputy or assistant attorney general who will approve or deny the request.

On February 25, the victim unit will receive special training directed by victims identified through VOCAL (Victims of Crime and Leniency). The board also hired a manager for the victim unit who is observing parole hearings and procedures, and working with VOCAL.

Additionally, an advisory council for the board was created and has its first meeting on February 28. That council consists of representatives from the attorney general’s office, VOCAL, the Equal Justice Initiative, an inmate advocate, president of the Alabama District Attorneys Association, a staff attorney and a member of the Alabama Sheriff’s Association.

The board is also asking Governor Ivey to approve funding for GPS-monitoring equipment. They said they requested it over a year ago. But, it’s up to the state to approve it. They believe this will help with ‘officer efficiency’ and public safety.

The board also sought advice from other states as well. They met with the Georgia Parole Board IT director in January. That person developed and operates the electronic system that manages inmates’ eligibility calculations, parole dockets, and board actions. They also provided extensive information regarding electronic record-keeping.

Then, the board’s executive director and IT manager met and worked out a plan for electronic management of its cases, dockets, and board actions. Board Chairman Lyn Head also met with the Kansas board chairman regarding a decision-making model for Alabama.

The board also spelled out improvements in the Offender Automated Supervision Investigation System (OASIS). The board says parole officers are required to document each parolee contact in order to avoid missing something important.

Remember in the Jimmy O’Neal Spencer case, Spencer was lying to his parole officer and telling him he was at his halfway house in Birmingham. In reality, he walked out of the mandatory program three weeks after he arrived.

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