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December 30, 2012

Concerns raised over early parole

DUNCAN — The Oklahoma District Attorneys Council is calling for a comprehensive review of the early release process after discovering what Jason Hicks calls, “serious issues with the way the Parole Board is doing business.”

According to Hicks, who serves  as the district attorney for District 6, which includes Stephens County, violent offenders are being considered for parole prior to serving 85 percent of their sentence. Also, in some cases, Hicks said, those sentenced to life without parole are being considered for release.

“Over the past several months, I, along with other district attorneys throughout the state have discovered serious issues with the way the Parole Board is doing business,” Hicks wrote in a statement. “During the prosecution of violent offenders, it is common practice for the district attorney involved to advise crime victims that offenders will serve at least 85 percent of the sentence before any chance of release. ... Offenders  sentenced under the 85 percent rule, along with offenders sentenced to life without parole are, are being considered for release prior to serving the statutorily mandated minimum time.”

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board met and discussed changing its procedure in relation to inmates being considered for early parole. Mark Dreyer, chairman of the board, said the board wouldn’t make any changes at this time in order to allow citizens plenty of time to weigh-in with their thoughts.

Citizens can email their thoughts and comments to or mail them to Tracy George, Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, First National Center, 120 N Robinson Ave., Suite 900W, Oklahoma City, 73102. They can also call 405-602-5863. The end of the comment period is Jan. 4.

“It is vitally important for the board to hear from concerned citizens,” Hicks said.怸

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