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Ivey freezes all early paroles, appoints former Tuscaloosa DA as Board of Pardons and Paroles chair

Governor Kay Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall met with the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday regarding recent reporting that the board had been releasing violent inmates early at an alarmingly high rate.

Following the closed-door meeting, Ivey and Marshall held a press conference at the state capitol, in which Ivey expressed her disappointment and announced an executive order shaking up the board.

The governor’s executive order freezes all early paroles for 75 days, or until the board implements a plan of corrective action that is approved by Ivey and Marshall. This plan must be submitted in the next 30 days.

According to WSFA’s original investigation on the board’s actions, approximately 100 more violent inmates were set for possible early release between Monday and the end of October.

Ivey also elevated former Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Lyn Head to chair the board. With Head now chairing the board, former chair Cliff Walker will now serve as an Associate Member along with Dewayne Spurlock. Head was appointed to the board effective September 2016.

Before being appointed Tuscaloosa County District Attorney in 2013, Head was hired as an assistant district attorney in that county in 1999. She previously worked in the District Attorney’s Office for the 10th Judicial Circuit in Bessemer, along with extensive private sector litigation experience. This includes work for Rosen, Harwood, Cook and Sledge (now Rosen Harwood) in Tuscaloosa and Webb & Eley in Montgomery. Head earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama in 1988 and graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1990.

You can read the entire executive order here.

Update – In a statement, Ivey added the following:

“Today, I have taken decisive action to address the alarming concerns surrounding the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. First, through Executive Order, I am directing a halt on all early parole hearings, so that the Board’s focus remains entirely on addressing the problems at hand. To shift the direction of Pardons and Paroles, I have also designated new leadership. The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles’ decisions are crucial to the safety of our state, and the issues here are not to be taken lightly. I directed the Board to produce a detailed, corrective action plan, which they will report back to the Attorney General and myself. It’s clear that things need to change, and I assure the families of victims and all Alabamians that I am working diligently to solve this problem.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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