Oklahoma Gov Seeks to Make Parole Board Meetings, Agendas More Open


Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin’s staff will meet with officials of the state Pardon and Parole Board to discuss ways to make their meetings and agendas more open, reports the Oklahoman. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater has accused the board of using a secret docket to expedite the release of some prisoners. Parole board members don’t list the names of offenders proposed for commutation under the agenda item “docket modifications” during their monthly meetings; instead they bring the names up during that point of the meeting.

If three of the five members vote to consider any for commutation, the board schedules a hearing and lists their names as well as notify prosecutors and victim family members who signed up for notification at least 20 days in advance, said Alex Weintz, Fallin’s communications director. “The governor doesn’t think there’s malicious intent in anything the Pardon and Parole Board was doing,” Weintz said. “However, there are improvements that can be made and we’re going to work on those.” Fallin reviews all parole board recommendations, spending eight to 10 hours a month reviewing 100 to 150 cases. Since taking office in January 2011, the GOP governor has approved about 51 percent of the inmates who have been recommended for parole by the parole board, considerably less than the 85 percent rate of her Democratic predecessor during the first 18 months he was in office.

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