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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: 540267

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798791529
Mobile41295809
Madison35175506
Tuscaloosa25932455
Shelby25309249
Montgomery24736593
Baldwin21422310
Lee15997172
Calhoun14577319
Morgan14431280
Etowah13927353
Marshall12280225
Houston10650282
Elmore10158206
Limestone10075151
St. Clair9955245
Cullman9773194
Lauderdale9465243
DeKalb8866188
Talladega8344176
Walker7261278
Autauga7010108
Jackson6840112
Blount6776139
Colbert6322135
Coffee5583118
Dale4878113
Russell445938
Chilton4383113
Franklin426382
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia395177
Chambers3598123
Dallas3569153
Clarke351561
Marion3140101
Pike312077
Lawrence303698
Winston275873
Bibb264864
Geneva254178
Marengo249865
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale224078
Butler219069
Fayette213162
Henry190043
Cherokee184845
Randolph182542
Monroe178241
Washington167839
Macon161350
Clay157257
Crenshaw153657
Cleburne149641
Lamar143336
Lowndes140753
Wilcox127430
Bullock123342
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter105032
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 858355

Reported Deaths: 12327
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby967281638
Davidson89777942
Knox51190637
Hamilton44647496
Rutherford43278437
Williamson28148217
Sumner24170349
Montgomery20475228
Wilson18929236
Out of TN1826899
Sullivan16994300
Unassigned16910134
Blount15582196
Bradley15123151
Washington14713245
Maury13566172
Sevier13464176
Putnam11444175
Madison11292241
Robertson9810132
Anderson8810171
Hamblen8633173
Greene7936156
Tipton7403104
Coffee6925123
Dickson6856113
Cumberland6775133
Carter6671158
Gibson6559146
McMinn655998
Bedford6528129
Roane6327105
Jefferson6249125
Hawkins6188107
Loudon617169
Lawrence599191
Monroe588796
Warren556481
Dyer5445106
Franklin516590
Fayette512678
Cheatham458456
Obion455596
Cocke452699
Lincoln437163
Rhea436375
Marshall420758
Campbell417863
Weakley416965
Giles4014100
Henderson381176
White368970
Carroll363683
Macon363178
Hardin358568
Hardeman354364
Lauderdale321044
Henry320976
Claiborne318973
Scott316045
Marion313147
Overton302561
Wayne296934
Hickman285146
McNairy284454
DeKalb280754
Smith278939
Haywood271562
Grainger263950
Morgan251939
Trousdale250622
Fentress243447
Johnson242239
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Chester215551
Polk209725
Unicoi204449
Crockett203649
Cannon192831
Union192834
Humphreys182428
Grundy179434
Sequatchie171729
Lake170526
Benton167640
Decatur159239
Lewis158626
Meigs139325
Stewart133428
Jackson132536
Clay110330
Houston109933
Perry107328
Moore101817
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Pickett75824
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