Montgomery, Al – Judge Charlie Graddick, Bureau director for Pardons and Paroles, today thanked Attorney Gen. Steve Marshall for publicly supporting the Bureau’s decision to postpone parole hearings rather than continue them in violation of a new law enacted June 6 by Gov. Kay Ivey.
Judge Graddick on Sept. 9 was forced to postpone 627 hearings for parole because the victim notification process did not meet standards to comply with the new law. He said hearings are on schedule to resume in early November.
“The new law states in very clear language what must be done in order to hold legal hearings,” he said. “Upon taking office Sept. 1, it was clear to us that nothing had been done. We were forced to postpone all hearings set for September. To do otherwise would have been a violation of the law and likely cause victims and other interested parties to travel twice to Montgomery to be heard. Victims of crime have suffered too much to again be victimized by failure of a broken system and noncompliance to the law.”
Marshall recently said at a law enforcement summit that reduction of overpopulated prisons is not the Bureau’s job, but rather its responsibility “is making public safety decisions on who should be released, and that has nothing to do with the number of people in prison.”
Marshall said, “I believe Judge Graddick would not have stopped it if he hadn’t seen a violation of the law and understood that victims’ and law enforcement’s voices need to be heard when parole decisions take place. That’s why I appreciate the action that’s been taken.”
“I appreciate Gen. Marshall for making this clear,” Graddick said. “One of my duties is to make sure mistakes like this don’t reoccur. More importantly, our primary responsibility is to ensure that the Bureau protects the public to the greatest extent possible.”
Graddick said he has begun an extensive reorganization of ABPP to enhance efficiency, communications and assure compliance to the law and to the Constitution.
“We are doing all possible with all speed to ensure accountability and superior public service to help make Alabama safer for citizens,” said Judge Graddick.