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Oklahoma parole board adopts new policy on nonviolent offenders

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board on Monday adopted a new policy and procedures on nonviolent offenders. The changes were required because voters approved a constitutional amendment removing the governor from any role in the parole process in nonviolent cases.
by Nolan Clay Published: January 14, 2013

The five board members had a lengthy discussion Monday about who at the agency should sign the certificates of the paroled nonviolent offenders.

The members had agreed that it should be the executive director but, then, Chairman Marc Dreyer said he would like to sign at least the first one.

“This is just me wanting to make history,” said Dreyer, a Tulsa pastor.

The board finally decided either the board's “chairperson” or executive director would sign the certificates.

What the public said

The board sought written public comment on the new policy and procedures but it received only a few emails.

One critic of the change wrote: “I believe the people of the state of Oklahoma never intended for the Pardon and Parole Board to have free rein without the governor being involved. The way the state question was written caused a lot of people to vote contrary to their intentions.”

One supporter wrote: “It is my firm belief that the governor should be taken out of the parole process, altogether. … If we can't trust the people in the parole process, who watch the inmates during their incarceration; the case managers, the employers, the instructors, the guards, and the parole investigators' recommendation, and the Parole Board, why do we pay any of them?”

by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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