The Norman Transcript

State/Region

October 14, 2012

Parole ballot issue draws opposition

OKLAHOMA CITY — Opposition is mounting against a proposed amendment to Oklahoma’s Constitution that would grant more authority to the state Pardon and Parole Board by removing the governor from the parole process for nonviolent offenders.

Supporters say the change will reduce the strain on the state’s parole system by making it more efficient, eliminate delays in implementing parole recommendations and cut incarceration costs.

But the measure, State Question 762, has come under scrutiny since Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater accused the Pardon and Parole Board in August of operating a secret parole docket and granting early parole to certain state prison inmates, including some who were not eligible for it.

Within a week, Gov. Mary Fallin asked the board to change some of its policies and practices. And a statement provided by the governor’s office to The Associated Press indicates the parole fracas has forced Fallin to back away from her earlier support of the measure.

“In the interest of public safety and the wellbeing of Oklahoma, the governor’s office should continue to provide this oversight until additional reforms and changes can be made at the Pardon and Parole Board,” Fallin said.

Last year, Fallin signed legislation overwhelmingly approved by the Legislature to modify the governor’s role in the parole process and speed it up for non-violent offenders.

The legislation did not go into effect after the Attorney General’s Office ruled it was unconstitutional.

Oklahoma prosecutors are also weighing in against the proposal. Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn, president of the state District Attorneys Council, said removing the governor from parole decisions “would be a terrible mistake.”

“There would be absolutely no accountability for those who are tasked with releasing criminals from our prisons,” Mashburn said in a statement. “It is imperative to keep the governor in this process as someone who takes this task very seriously.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State/Region
  • Oklahoma City Memorial Bombing museum gets tech boost

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A memorial and museum built to remember the worst act of domestic terrorism on American soil is in the midst of a $7 million upgrade so it can better portray how different the world was when Timothy McVeigh blew up the ...

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • U.S. puts off pipeline decision

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is putting off its decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, likely until after the November elections, by extending its review of the controversial project indefinitely....

    April 19, 2014

  • Sonic plans expansion

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma-based Sonic Corp. plans to open 1,000 new drive-in restaurants nationwide over the next 10 years, expanding the chain by about 30 percent, the company said....

    April 19, 2014

  • Fallin disappointed SBAdenied loans

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Mary Fallin said Thursday she is disappointed that a federal agency denied a request for loans to businesses in two Oklahoma towns affected by an emergency bridge closure....

    April 18, 2014

  • Oklahoma Senate approves limits on abortion drug

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to further restrict the use of abortion-inducing drugs in Oklahoma in a bill written in direct response to a recent state Supreme Court decision....

    April 16, 2014

  • March Oklahoma revenue misses mark by 9.1 percent

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s finance secretary says collections by the general revenue fund fell 9.1 percent below the official estimate in March....

    April 16, 2014

  • University of Tulsa researchers find new species

    TULSA — A salamander first discovered by a University of Tulsa doctoral student in 2011 is being hailed as a new species in an international journal for animal taxonomy....

    April 16, 2014

  • Oklahoma House passes state trooper pay raise bill

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers could get their first pay raise in seven years under a plan given final legislative approval Tuesday, though it remains unclear whether money will be available in the overall state budget to ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Barresi decries plan to eliminate Okla. tests

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma State Superintendent Janet Barresi is raising concern about a bill before the Legislature that would eliminate state testing in social studies and geography....

    April 16, 2014

  • State-mandated minimum wage draws ire across state

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Organizers seeking a higher minimum wage in Oklahoma are upset with Gov. Mary Fallin’s decision to sign a bill that prohibits cities in the state from establishing mandatory minimum wage or vacation and sick-day ...

    April 16, 2014