On Monday, the WAAY 31 I-Team traveled to Montgomery to speak one-on-one with the Alabama parole board's chairperson, Lyn Head.
Currently, legislation is going through the Senate that would give the governor more oversite at the parole board, strengthen victim notification and bring changes to early parole. Lyn Head said the board's biggest flaw is communicating with the public about all the good improvements they are making.
Head said staffing is an issue, but they just hired about 25 new parole and probation officers to keep up with supervision of people once they are paroled. She said they have upgraded field officer technology as well.
In a WAAY 31 I-Team investigation, we pointed out a series of flaws that led to a dangerous man being paroled and not kept up with. He's now accused of murdering three people. Head said there is no way to predict human behavior. She said they are no longer paroling individuals to Jimmie Hale Missions, because of the Jimmy Spencer case.
In light of these issues, Alabama's attorney general, Steve Marshall, pushed for legislation that would give the governor more power over the board, strengthen victim notification and stop early paroles. Marshall has said the parole system is broken. Head said they are not operating a broken system. Head said the reason they are against the legislation is because it won't fix anything.
"After working with victims of crime for 18 years, I know this legislation isn't going to do anything to make them feel better. Individuals are still going to behave in unpredictable ways," said Head.
Head also said they have no issues with executive leadership at the parole board.
The WAAY 31 I-Team did obtain emails where the executive director of the parole board told employees to contest the legislation while on tax payer time. Head said that was not a violation of state law and said the executive director, Eddie Cook, has done great things for the department.
The parole bill will now head to the Senate floor in the next two weeks.
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