Obenshain’s Parole Board bill advances from committee with bipartisan support

virginia state capitol
Photo Credit: traveler1116/iStock Photo

Legislation introduced by Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) aimed at increasing transparency and accountability for the Virginia Parole Board was reported out of the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee on Monday.

The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

SB 5050 would mandate that the Parole Board publish its monthly report on the last day of every month, and that the monthly public report would need to include  the offenses which the prisoner committed, the jurisdiction in which the prisoner was convicted, the length of time served, and the reasons the Board decided to grant parole.

The bill would also mandates that the chairman of the Parole Board would need to certify under oath that the Board has complied with the provisions of the state code to notify certain persons prior to the release or discharge of any prisoner.

One more provision: the bill would require the Board to send to the Commonwealth’s Attorney and the victim/witness director in the jurisdiction where the prisoner’s conviction occurred, notice to present evidence to the Board of the impact that the release of a prisoner will have on the victim

“As it should, my Parole Board transparency bill advanced yesterday with bipartisan support,” Obenshain said. “Over the last few months, Virginians have been appalled by the egregious actions of the Virginia Parole Board and their disregard for the requirements of the law and its own policies and procedures.

“The Board has released violent felons without regard to requirements that victims and local prosecutors be notified in advance. Their actions have highlighted the lack of transparency under which the Board operates, and this bill seeks to address those transparency concerns.”

The full text of SB 5050 may be found here.


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