Special parole dockets resume

News staff writer

MONTGOMERY Hundreds of nonviolent inmates in Alabama's crowded prisons can start packing to go home as a result of special parole dockets the state Board of Pardons and Paroles resumed this week. 

The board on Thursday paroled 31 of 34 inmates it considered at a special review docket funded in part by $1 million in emergency money that Gov. Bob Riley made available in February. 

Carolyn Flack, the board's operations supervisor, said the board is using the emergency money to hire extra parole officers to supervise those paroled at the special dockets. She said the board will consider about 70 nonviolent inmates per week for parole. 

Of the 34 considered Thursday, 18 women and 13 men were paroled, and one woman and two men were denied paroles, Flack said. 

To be eligible for consideration for parole on the special review dockets, inmates cannot have been convicted of a Class A felony, which involves violence such as murder, robbery or rape, and they must not have had more than three revocations of parole in the past 10 years, Flack said. 

"They cannot have a current or prior conviction involving the use of a firearm, and of course the current offense cannot have victim injury, because
that would make it a victim case," she said. 

Inmates convicted of domestic violence or drug trafficking are ineligible, but those convicted of lesser drug-related offenses such as sale, distribution or possession, or of theft, receiving stolen properties and daytime burglaries are eligible to be considered, Flack said. 

Inmates serving split sentences and those who have been disciplined for offenses involving drugs, alcohol or violence within the last six months are ineligible, Flack said. The dockets began last year and were called special "Thursday dockets" because that's the day they were always held. 

They were discontinued after former Gov. Don Siegelman reneged on a promise to provide money to hire extra officers to supervise them. 

"We spread them out over the week now, and we've just started it this week," Flack said. The board plans to hold the dockets for an indefinite time, she said. Flack did not know how many nonviolent inmates in Alabama prisons might qualify for parole consideration at the special dockets.