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Victims’ group urges new laws to reform Alabama parole board

Victims of Crime and Leniency (VOCAL), Alabama’s largest victims’ advocacy coalition, on Tuesday expressed the organization’s full support and the urgent need for legislation reforming the Board of Pardons and Paroles. The legislation has already passed the Alabama House of Representatives.

Posted: May 21, 2019 12:03 PM

Victims of Crime and Leniency issued this press release Tuesday

Victims of Crime and Leniency (VOCAL), Alabama’s largest victims’ advocacy coalition, on Tuesday expressed the organization’s full support and the urgent need for legislation reforming the Board of Pardons and Paroles. The legislation has already passed the Alabama House of Representatives.

“We sincerely hope that the Alabama Senate will make this legislation a top priority in the remaining days of the regular session,” said VOCAL Founder, Miriam Shehane. “Victims have waited for years for our state officials to listen to us and pay attention to what is going on at Pardons and Paroles. We’ve finally got an Attorney General and Governor who get it, but they lack the authority to fix this problem. For any real change to occur, we desperately need the reforms proposed in this legislation.”

In July, Jimmy O’Neal Spencer murdered three innocent individuals in Guntersville after being wrongfully paroled and improperly supervised. After discovering numerous instances of improper early parole considerations and the subsequent release of violent offenders, as well as significant operational and managerial problems within the agency, Governor Kay Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall decided that they had heard enough. For months, they tried to work with the Board to correct its own problems, but unsatisfactory responsive actions from the agency led the Attorney General to pursue legislative changes that would 1) restructure the agency, 2) formalize the Board’s early consideration policies, and 3) enhance the Board’s obligations in notifying victims.

“We keep being told that this bill will be put to a vote, but time is running out,” said VOCAL State Director, Janette Grathum. “We urge Senators to do their research so that they fully grasp what is at stake here — the safety of all Alabamians. To know, at the very least, what happened to the three victims in Guntersville, and to do nothing, would be indefensible. We ask Senators to please listen to those of us who have to deal with this broken system up close, every single day. Please listen to the District Attorneys. Please listen to our Governor. Please listen to our Attorney General. There are massive problems that must be addressed now, not later. Surely we haven’t come this far just to see these necessary reforms die for no apparent reason.”

The House version of the legislation, HB 380, is sponsored by Representative Connie Rowe (R-Jasper). It passed the House by a vote of 73 to 27 on May 9th. The Senate version, SB 42, is sponsored by Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster). It was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 11th and awaits consideration by the full Senate.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 236865

Reported Deaths: 3472
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31043491
Mobile19446360
Tuscaloosa12684150
Madison12528146
Montgomery12122235
Shelby992276
Baldwin837684
Lee759765
Morgan626247
Calhoun6049113
Etowah600564
Marshall596153
Houston510838
DeKalb469635
Cullman421136
Limestone408844
St. Clair403955
Elmore398961
Lauderdale387253
Walker356199
Talladega339044
Jackson302524
Colbert297641
Blount282236
Autauga266139
Franklin246233
Coffee236615
Dale228454
Dallas222331
Russell21923
Chilton218537
Covington215933
Escambia196931
Tallapoosa171790
Chambers171448
Pike156014
Clarke155319
Marion135535
Winston126623
Lawrence123936
Geneva11848
Pickens117618
Marengo117424
Barbour116710
Bibb115717
Butler114341
Randolph100321
Cherokee99624
Hale93231
Washington89918
Clay89623
Fayette86216
Henry8436
Lowndes78929
Monroe77911
Cleburne75614
Macon71720
Crenshaw70330
Bullock69019
Conecuh68214
Perry6726
Lamar6337
Wilcox62818
Sumter56222
Choctaw41813
Greene41317
Coosa3144
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 345916

Reported Deaths: 4372
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby45850645
Davidson40834409
Knox17686142
Rutherford16918153
Hamilton15944139
Williamson1068176
Sumner9163134
Wilson705076
Out of TN692847
Montgomery623582
Sullivan612491
Putnam573779
Washington5609101
Maury556661
Blount518055
Madison5112107
Unassigned493018
Bradley484533
Sevier469131
Robertson357751
Tipton349138
Hamblen332258
Dyer309349
Gibson302663
Greene287871
Anderson274427
Dickson274232
Coffee263941
Bedford256428
Carter255053
Obion252849
Lawrence251532
Cumberland243535
McMinn234755
Warren227118
Hardeman220937
Roane220626
Loudon218518
Jefferson216431
Fayette214838
Weakley208035
Lauderdale200322
Monroe200042
Franklin194232
Trousdale189712
Hawkins182334
Wayne181210
Henderson178532
Macon177027
Hardin172625
White167418
Marshall165818
Carroll164434
Haywood159530
Rhea156730
Cocke155528
Overton150834
Cheatham149416
Campbell148322
Lincoln147113
Henry145017
Smith138419
Johnson137621
McNairy137533
Giles136044
Fentress117120
Lake11525
Bledsoe11395
Hickman112017
Crockett111025
DeKalb109121
Marion104017
Chester99419
Scott9667
Grainger92915
Decatur91613
Unicoi79125
Benton76415
Claiborne7539
Grundy74214
Lewis71914
Cannon7133
Union6945
Morgan6796
Jackson66410
Humphreys6617
Polk63714
Houston57620
Stewart56914
Clay52818
Sequatchie5015
Meigs46112
Perry46120
Moore3702
Pickett36713
Van Buren3422
Hancock1473

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