The three-member Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision will see more than 100 killers, sex offenders and other dangerous inmates seeking release this year, reports The Oregonian. For years, the board has operated with little attention. That changed this month when a judge blocked the release of serial rapist Richard Gillmore because the parole board failed to give a victim a fair chance to argue her side.
The Gillmore case has spurred some prosecutors and victims’ advocates to demand opening up the parole board’s decision-making process and making it easier to challenge release decisions. Lawyer Steven R. Powers worked in the attorney general’s office until being selected last year by Gov. Ted Kulongoski to head the parole board. Powers said he intends to make parole hearings more accessible to the public, but the focus would be on inmates who committed serious crimes. “At the end of the day, it’s about public safety,” Powers said. “The true focus of the hearing is: Has the offender met the standard for release?”