WAAY 31 I-Team: Parole Board releases February progress report

The board says it will launch a new website on March 31, 2019, to better notify victims about parole hearings.

Posted: Mar. 27, 2019 4:03 PM
Updated: Apr. 11, 2019 12:55 PM

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles says it's making improvements, as instructed by Governor Kay Ivey.

Ivey ordered a sweeping overhaul after a WAAY 31 I-Team investigation revealed a career criminal was released on parole, and later arrested in a triple murder. We also found many inmates were coming up for early parole hearings, and some were even paroled before serving the proper length of their sentences.

The board just released its latest progress report. It says it will soon launch a website to help communicate with victims' families, which was one of Governor Ivey's biggest criticisms. The board says it's working on field officer relationships with law enforcement and victims, and it's trying to speed up the arrest of people who violate their parole.

Despite the parole board changing some things, many victims families told WAAY 31 they still don't trust the parole board to make the right decisions.

"I don't think the parole board is still addressing our questions," said Mary Ann Rippey.

Rippey has dealt the with the parole board for years, fighting to keep her brother's killers in prison.

"We justly got a conviction and a sentencing, and it's taken away time and time again," said Rippey.

Rippey and her family will soon have to face the board again, and again, they will ask to keep a convicted killer behind bars.

"It's just a lack of communication. The parole board, I know they see a lot and your case is in front of them. The case file is thick. I don't even know how they read all that and make a decision," said Rippey.

In their monthly report to the governor, the parole board said it has made strides in improving relationships with victims' families. It put a suggestion box in the victim waiting room. It also says a new website to inform victims on the board's policies and procedures plus parole hearings will launch on March 31st, but Rippey is skeptical the website will work.

"I've actually sat in on several meetings years back listening to them developing the website and just stopped going on the four hour drive, but they never got anything done. I'm actually registered on the website, and I used to encourage other people to register, but it doesn't work," said Rippey.

We asked Rippey how the board could gain her trust back. She said stronger communication with the Department of Corrections would be a start to lessen confusion over an inmate's background while in prison.

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