Inmates who are “flopped” — given no release — by the parole board complain bitterly that the board is secretive, uses inaccurate data and ignores participation in rehabilitative programs. A year ago, inmate Bernard Keith won a 6-1 decision from the Ohio Supreme Court which held that the parole board is obligated to be sure that the records it uses to make decisions are reasonably accurate and pertinent. Keith, who represented himself in the case, said the parole board had been using inaccurate records to decide his case. Even after the board updated the records, it still flopped him, he said.
Former inmate Tim Richardson, who is working for parole board reforms, said the parole board too often looks only at the severity of the crime and the original charges and doesn’t give enough weight to rehabilitative programs completed by inmates seeking parole.
The CIIC also reported that twice as many crime victims are now participating in the parole hearings, which may be influencing parole board decisions on whether to release inmates.
Legislators passed “Roberta’s Law” in 2013 which requires the state to notify crime victims of upcoming parole hearings if the inmate was convicted of murder or a serious violent offense.