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Gov. DeWine Proposes Parole Board Changes

The Ohio Parole Board met to hear the clemency case of convicted killer and death row inmate Ronald Phillips in December 2016.
Karen Kasler
/
Statehouse News Bureau
The Ohio Parole Board met to hear the clemency case of convicted killer and death row inmate Ronald Phillips in December 2016.

After a former member slammed the state parole board for secrecy, a lack of diversity and issues with board members missing meetings, Gov. Mike DeWine has proposed changes and added three new members.

DeWine wants to allow video conferencing at parole board hearings but allow victims’ statements to be shielded. He also wants the prisons department to develop a new program to help offenders upon release. And he says the Parole Board itself will undergo training to help it be more effective.

This comes a few months after former parole board member and state Sen. Shirley Smith said the parole board staff wasn’t diverse and its decisions were often unfair to inmates. And she said parole board members were able to vote on cases without attending hearings, acting "without integrity, humanity or decency."

DeWine has also named three new board members: the state assistant public defender, an assistant prosecutor from Clark County, and state Rep. Glenn Holmes, who will resign his seat in the Ohio House.