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WAAY 31 I-TEAM: Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles discusses parole hearings starting back

The WAAY 31 I-TEAM learned there are 627 parole hearings that were postponed since September.

Posted: Nov 4, 2019 12:02 PM
Updated: Nov 5, 2019 7:02 PM

The Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles held a news conference in Montgomery to discuss parole hearings starting back on Tuesday.

This comes after the previous administration failed to meet certain standards. 

The WAAY 31 I-TEAM learned there are 627 parole hearings that were postponed since September. 

Due to a new law, the board's Operations Division was unable to assure that victims and other interested parties were notified of upcoming parole hearings back in September and October, so they had to postpone those hearings.

The director of the board, Judge Charlie Graddick, said they are getting correct phone numbers, addresses and doing their due diligence to properly notify victims within the 30-day limit. These were requirements enacted by a new parole law established back in June by Gov. Kay Ivey.

The bureau says the hearings will be Tuesday through Thursday, each week from Nov. 5 to Nov. 20 and Dec. 3 to Dec. 18. All of the inmates on the docket for parole hearings Tuesday involve robbery charges. There are no North Alabama cases scheduled for the day.

Graddick spoke strongly and swiftly on Monday about how he and the board plan to make victims and their families feel more welcome.

"We're going to do the kinds of things to help victims that have been ignored for a long, long time," he said.

Graddick promised a new victim service officer at the board. We know the officer will cater to victims and their families, but Graddick is still working on his or her exact duties.

Graddick's team said this new role should give victims all the information and support from the agency they need.

"The victim's program is this. This agency has never had an efficient or effective or viable program to even consider the feelings, emotions or convenience of a victim of a crime," he said. "They are re-victimized again to come in and sit and go through this whole process. Nobody in this agency has particularly helped them and we're going to make a difference there."

Graddick's team invited victim advocacy groups, and they told WAAY 31 they're hopeful with the new direction the board is taking.

"I believe there will be more changes in the future, and I know it takes time," Jeanette Grantham, the director of Victims of Crime and Leniency (VOCAL) said.

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