Criminal Justice: Ohio’s Parole Board

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10:00

We’re continuing our series on Ohio’s criminal justice system, with a look at the process behind granting prisoners parole. The state has a very low parole rate, and many favor the alternative “judicial release,” where inmates’ sentences can be greatly reduced, but others fear it puts dangerous criminals back on the streets. We’ll get a rare look this hour.

 Guests

  • David Singleton, executive director of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center
  • Cynthia Mausser, chair of the Ohio Parole Board
  • Raymond Brown, former inmate at Marion Correctional Institution, released through Ohio’s judicial release program

 

Listen to all parts of our Mass Incarceration series

#1:  The Social and Economic Costs

#2: Ohio’s Parole Board

#3: The Recidivism Rate

#4: Victim Advocacy

Join The Conversation

  • Mark Waite

    Very enlightening program – thank you. For the Ohio Parole Board to make ‘criminal history’ the pre-eminent consideration is astonishingly inappropriate, unfair and wasteful of tax money, since that is weighed by the judge in passing the original sentence. I always assumed criminal behaviour to be one of many factors in assessing risk of recidivism, which I believe is the main task of parole boards in most developed countries. I hope you come back to this topic.

  • Penny MissinglovingbelongstoBi

    The parole board focus is on the NATURE OF CRIME not the REHABILITATION OF AN INMATE , my husband has been down nearly 21 years first time offender and an intoxicated juvinille at the time of his bad choices. My husband is old law and will always be at the mercy of the parole board nearly 4 years ago they super flopped him for the NATURE OF CRIME which will never change tell him to repeat programs why do that dont they trust there programs? Never discussed his institutional record of all he has done to rehabilitate his self but yet soley focus on the the nature of crime. This behavior of the parole board is not only costing us tax payers to continue to pay for not only my husband bit others alike to continue housing inmates that are deserving of a 2nd chance. There was once a parole board member that visited the prison my husband is at and was in a discussion with a co reguarding why not many OLD LAW INMATES were being released the co asked why this is the reply : from the parole board member IF I GAVE YOU A PILE OF BRICKS AND I SAY TO YOU LAY THEM STRAIGHT AND NEAT AND WHEN YOU GET TO THE LAST BRICK YOU ARE FIRED HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE YOU TO LAY THOSE BRICKS? So my husband is just a pile of bricks and job security for the parole board. They have no guidelines they have to follow and they did away with half time reviews for those who have been super flopped. My husband was given 8 yrs more nearly 4 years ago for soley the NATURE OF CRIME but in reality the parole board gets to hold there jobs for 8 more years for they have to keep a percentage of OLD LAW inmates in prison. A bit ironic . My husband is still young enough to give back and he is very remorseville and rehabilitated and has been given a 2nd chance at love and family for we were married soon be 4 years ago on august 14 , if myself my children and family give him a 2nd chance and most of all GOD who is the parole board to have the right the mess with inmates minds of the fear of not ever being released because no matter what they do to rehabilitate thereself they arent going to look at there instituional record anyway but focus on what they originally got sentenced for in the beginning THE NATURE OF CRIME… When will they be accountable for there decisions.

    • anne

      Petition to remove ohio parole board members need as many signatures as we can get. Please send me your email I will send it to you when I have it ready I have contacted a lawyer about getting a legal document written up. It may be a few weeks but we all have to stand together and show the parole board they are not God. changeohiopb@gmail.com

    • anne

      Who was the co and the parole board member?

      • Penny MissinglovingbelongstoBi

        I will get that information tonight and will get back with you

      • Penny MissinglovingbelongstoBi

        Co was last name Cottrell parole borad member from chillicothe ohio Montgomery … co cottrell hasnt been seen around the prison so dont know if he still employed there. This comment was said in 2010…..

  • Lori Wampler

    The purpose of the Ohio Parole Board is laid out on
    this website http://www.drc.ohio.gov/web/parboard.htm. This is
    the official drc website. The basic purpose is to make sure that people who have
    committed crimes do not get released too early and get out and reoffend.
    However, as you will see, the Ohio Parole Board abuses its authority and no one
    cares or watches over them.

    We all know there are innocent people in prison. We
    also know that many inmates claim their innocence and are really guilty. But how
    many innocent people are in prison? Let me give you an example. For most people
    who have been involved in a criminal case, there is DNA evidence. However, there
    wasn’t always DNA, not until 1986. What about those individuals who were
    convicted before that date? Well, in some cases people can go back and get the
    DNA evidence and have it tested again and maybe, if they are innocent, they can
    get released. But, some people have fallen through even those cracks. Some
    people have had their evidence destroyed. Is that lawful? Well, not anymore it
    isn’t, according to a law enacted in July 6, 2010 found here http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Law-Enforcement/Local-Law-Enforcement/Senate-Bill-77#b9.
    Now, it would require written notice sent to the offender as well as the
    Attorney General, Ohio public Defenders office, the attorney or record for the
    offender and the county prosecutor. However, what about those offenders who have
    had their DNA destroyed before this law? Well, they must take their chances with
    the Ohio Parole Board. This brings me to my experience with the Ohio Parole
    Board.

    My name is Lori Wampler. I am married to an inmate,
    Charles “Keith” Wampler. Some people would think this is weird or strange. It
    all started about 7 years ago when I had watched something on tv about inmates
    and how they need outside support and some didn’t have any. So, I wrote to a
    few. Only one stood out. He was very up front about everything and very
    intelligent. I knew he was in prison for life, with possibility for parole. He
    also told me that he did not do this crime (aggravated murder, for which he was
    convicted of when he was 16) At first I thought, oh right, but I read everything
    he had, transcripts and after having others read it as well, I realized, wait
    maybe he didn’t do this. Things just didn’t add up. I married him on October 27,
    2008, despite knowing this because love doesn’t care what the circumstances are.
    After being married, we tried to fight, however, attorneys want money, which we
    have none. So we decided to wait it out and see what happened at the Parole
    Board. He had seen the Parole Board before and had always told them he was
    innocent and they just gave him 10 more years. We figured since he had served
    more than 31 years at that point, they would release him. He was to see the
    parole Board again in 2013. I found out through the Ohio Parole Board that you
    could set up a family meeting and see a member of the Parole Board a couple of
    months ahead of time and basically tell why you think he should be released.
    Also, I was told that they do not listen to pleas of innocence. So, what do we
    do now? We have no money to fight, we have no DNA, thanks to Judge John W.
    Kessler signing off on having it destroyed before the law prohibiting this in
    2010. Upon seeing a Parole Board member (Trayce Thalheimer) at the family
    meeting, she informed me first thing “you do know we can give him 10 years”. Ok,
    so I am now nervous. She also informed me that he had always claimed his
    innocence and that they would not be listening to that. Also, that if he would
    admit to the crime and show remorse, things would go much better for him.
    Everything went as well as could be expected though and I went home. I thought
    about it and decided our only chance was for him to admit and lie and say he was
    guilty and that he was sorry. Part of this was true, he did feel bad for what
    happened, but it wasn’t his doing. And, honestly the Ohio Parole Board leaves
    you no choice if you ever want to get released. He was more hesitant that I, he
    said he would never admit to something he hadn’t done, but I finally convinced
    him that this was our only shot. Now, I have all documents to prove what I am
    about to say, they are also found online at http://www.justicecorrupted.com. There you can find all about his
    entire story as well as the Parole Board side. Start at page 72 for information
    on the Ohio Parole Board, including official documents to corroberate everything
    I will say. Keith had a good prison record, only one fight in 31 years, never
    failed a drug test or was in any serious trouble. So, I figured we had a good
    shot.

    In July Keith saw the Ohio Parole Board, when he
    came back he immediately called me and told me that they gave him 10 more years,
    after questioning him for more than an hour. I was devastated and so was he.
    Once he left their meeting they sent him to a psychologist at the prison. She
    was even shocked that he had gotten 10 more years. Everyone at the prison was
    shocked honestly, even staff members and they know him better than the parole
    board does, they’ve only seen him once, whereas the people at the prison see him
    every day. Their reasons were because they thought he needed more education,
    programs like drug addiction because 31 years ago, (before he was convicted he smoked marajuana and drank), to which you
    can find documentation from the psychologist stating that not only does he not
    need this (he has never tested positive for drugs) she cannot put him into these
    programs because it is a needs basis, meaning only those who need it can get
    into these programs. There is also documentation stating from the prison during
    an evaluation dated April 3, 2013, before seeing the parole board that he has no
    need for any programs. Also, after his parole board meeting, in which he was
    given 10 more years, stating he needs more programs,another evaluation was done
    by the prison dated August 15, 2013, he was told the same thing, no need for
    programs. In addition, they knocked his security to minimum security. Does any
    of this make sense?

    I proceeded to ask who controls the Ohio Parole Board. Well, I found out
    that they are appointed by the Governors office, so I called them, even sent
    them a packet of all documents contained in the website above. They informed me
    that he should file for clemency we are waiting for a response on this now),
    which as I found out goes through the Ohio Parole Board. What kind of sense does
    that make? Also, I made calls to the ODRC, which is the office of Director Gary
    Mohr. I was told that I could not speak to Gary Mohr, to which I replied that I
    would come to his office and talk to him there. The next day the Ohio State
    Highway Patrol was at my door, asking about why I wanted to see Gary Mohr. What
    law did I break? I asked the officers this and they said none, they just wanted
    to make sure I wasn’t a threat. It is not against the law for me to want to
    speak to Gary Mohr, he owes me answers, the Parole Board owes me answers.
    However, I cannot get any of them to answer anything. According to the Ohio
    Parole Board they do not tape these hearings they have with inmates. Who does
    that protect? Certainly not the offenders. It just makes it easier for the Ohio
    Parole Board to say whatever they want to inmates and act with whatever they
    decide to do. How are they allowed to sentence someone to another 10 years? How
    is that fair? They are acting as judges and not even willing to listen to the
    entire story. They take what they want, do what they want, and there is no
    record of what they do, so no backlash.

    • Penny MissinglovingbelongstoBi

      I agree , nearly 4 years ago my husband was given 8 years more in my family meeting with an attourney which we had (didnt do any good by the way) , but i was told he will get out but the most he could get was 10 years , what???? So they give him 8 more years MAIN REASON NATURE OF CRIME !!!!! Ok the nature will NEVER CHANGE … its also fact that they can and will add to there case without notifying the inmate. THE PAROLE BOARD BASICALLY RE SENTENCES THE INMATE WITH THW ORIGINAL REASON THE JUDGE DID. THEY ARE NOT HELD ACCOUNTABLE AND THE GOVERNOR OR WHOEVER NEEDS TO PULL THE DOORS SHUT ON THIS SO CALLED PART OF JUSTICE THEY ARE JUST MAKING INMATES FEEL THAT NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO TO BETTER THERE CHANCES AT COMING HOME THEY DONT CARE THEYRE NOT GOING RO FOCUS ON THE GOOD THEY HAVE DONE YET FOCUS ON THE NATURE OF THERE CRIME. JOB SECURITY AND WE ALL KNOW THAT THEY RECIEVE GRANTS FOR A PERCENTAGE OF OLD LAW INMATES AND THEY ALSO KNOW IF THEY START RELEASING OLD LAW INMATES THERE JOB IS IN DANGER OF BEING NO MORE … HOW RIGHT IS THIS FOR THE INMATES THAT DO ALL THEY KNOW THEY HAVE TOO TO GET TO COME HOME. I JUST DONT UNDERSTAND HOW THEY CAN PLAY GOD JUDGE AND JURY AND GET BY WITH THERE REDICULOUS REASONS TO CONTINUE THE SUPER FLOPS. THEY ARE THE ONLY ONES THAT DONT GET TAPED DURING HEARINGS AND NOT MADE PUBLIC FOR VIEWING YET OUR PHONE CALLS FROM DAILY LIVING AT ANYTIME CAN BE RECORDED OUR CREDIT CAN BE EXAMINED PRYOR TO GET A JOB BUT THE PAROLE BOARD DOESNT HAVE TO FOLLOW ANY SET OF GUIDELINES YET THEY CAN MAKE THERE RULES UP AS EACH DAY COMES. I ASK AGAIM WHEN WILL THEY BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THERE DECISSIONS TO CONTINUE TO COST US AS TAX PAYING CITIZENS AND ALLOWING MY HUSBAND AND OTHERS ALIKE THAT ARE YOUNG ENOUGH TO GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY INSTEAD OF THE COMMUNITY.TO CONTINUE TO PAY FOR HIM ….. WE HAVE GOT TO STOP THIS MADDNESS AND YES WE DESERVE ANSWERS TO OIR QUESTIONS … AND SENDING THE HIGHWAY PATROL TO HOUSES BECAUSE OF A REQUEST TO SPEAK TO MOHOR WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO HIDE THAT THEY ARE AFRAID TO TALK TO US THAT HAVE LAGIT QUESTIONS…

      • anne

        Do you have an email I can contact you? I need help starting s petition and I want it to reaxh as many as possible to send to the governor, its an election year so that could be good or bad…. Anne

  • anne

    I am petitioning to get the parole board members removed, please anyone and everyone that would like to sign this petition send me an email we need at least 100k signatures for it to be looked at. Please please pass it along.
    changeohiopb@gmail.com

    • anne

      It may be a few weeks for the petition to be ready to sign please send an email I will let you know where to go to sign it when its ready. Please pass to family and friends. We need to get our old law family home. I have been writting letter and keep going in circles they want to act like it this or that or something they did 5 years…

      • Penny MissinglovingbelongstoBi

        I agree and it is unfair that si many old law inmates that are rehabilitated and being re sentenced for the nature of crime