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April 10, 2019

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Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Steve Marshall
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
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Alabama Attorney General

Attorney General Steve Marshall Supports Legislation to Reform the Alabama Board
of Pardons and Paroles

(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Steve Marshall announced his support of
legislation to reform the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. The legislation was
proposed by the Attorney General’s Office and is sponsored by Senator Cam Ward and
Representative Connie Rowe.

“In January 2018, Jimmy O’Neal Spencer, a violent offender sentenced to life
imprisonment, was released from prison after being recklessly and wrongfully paroled
by the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles,” Attorney General Marshall said.
“Months later, Spencer brutally murdered two women and a seven-year-old boy in
their homes. This tragic failure of our justice system should have never happened – and
cannot ever be allowed to happen again.

“Governor Ivey and I have worked hand in hand to prepare a comprehensive proposal
that prioritizes public safety within Alabama’s parole system. Over the course of the
last two months, we have had numerous conversations and have exchanged written
correspondence with the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles related to the Board’s
proposed corrective action plan. We have determined that changes to the law are
critical to ensuring public safety.

“Under the reform legislation sponsored by Senator Ward and Representative Rowe,
the process by which the Governor appoints Board members would be made more in
line with the Governor’s standing appointment authority for other boards, with Senate
confirmation. The legislation creates the position of ‘Director of Pardons and Paroles’
who would serve as the agency head, while the Board would retain its independent
judicial function of granting or denying parole and issuing pardons. The legislation
codifies the Board’s existing policies on parole consideration dates. The bill also
strengthens the Board’s duty to provide notice to victims. These changes are designed
to increase accountability, set clear parameters, and make certain that no prisoner who
is a threat to public safety can slip through the cracks.

“I want to thank Senator Cam Ward and Representative Connie Rowe for working
closely with my office to draft and steer this vital reform legislation,” added Attorney
General Marshall. “Alabama crime victims and their families have let it be known that
accountability must be restored to the Pardons and Paroles Board in order to protect the
public. This legislation will help accomplish this goal and I look forward to its swift
passage this session.”
501 Washington Avenue * Montgomery, AL 36104 * (334) 242-7300