Gov. Mary Fallin sentenced an Oklahoma inmate serving time on drug charges to life in prison when she denied his medical parole, the offender’s sister says.
Mary Ladd said her brother, Wendell Green, has cirrhosis of the liver, among other ailments, and was told by doctors early this year he would likely not live past May.
Green has been incarcerated since 2000 on two drug charges. Ladd said her brother was caught in 1999 with methamphetamine and the tools necessary to manufacture the drug. He is due for release in 2019.
Green also served time on convictions in Arkansas throughout the 1980s and 90s, including burglary, battery, and possessing a firearm after a felony conviction, according to the Arkansas Department of Correction. He is incarcerated at the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center.
In March, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted to recommend Green for a medical parole. Ladd said she had arranged for her brother’s hospice care, and the plan was for him to live out his remaining days in her home. Motions were made to send Green home, but Fallin eventually denied his medical parole.
Ladd said the medical exception counted as her brother’s annual shot at parole, and he is not eligible again until May 2015.
“They even called him in and had him sign his release forms, had everything arranged, and then he was called into the office and told to just sit down because he was going to be there for a year. If you make it, you make it. If you don’t, you don’t,” Ladd said. “I think it’s cruel to say those things to him, because it is life or death.”
Ladd said aside from fatigue and dehydration, her brother’s medication presents him with other complications.
“The medication he is taking now for the cirrhosis of the liver, he is now starting to grow breasts. So, we have another issue, because he is a man that is growing breasts,” Ladd said.
She said her brother tells her other inmates have begun ridiculing him.
Since State Question 762 took effect last year, the governor no longer has a say in the parole of nonviolent offenders. However, she does have say over early releases, which are either due to deportation or medical exceptions.
Of the hundreds of cases the Pardon and Parole Board hears each month, maybe two or three medical paroles are granted, said Tracy George, the board’s interim director.
“Governor Fallin carefully considered the information in Mr. Green’s pardon and parole packet and ultimately felt the public was best served by denying him an early parole,” said Alex Weintz, a spokesman for Fallin, in an emailed statement.