An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.  - Gandhi

Gov. Stitt appoints reform advocates to parole board

By Ben Felder, Feb. 26, 2019 NewsOK.Com

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced three appointments to the state’s Pardon and Parole Board on Tuesday that he said will bring a “fresh perspective” to a board from which he wants more inmate applications.

The governor’s office announced the appointment of Kelly E. Doyle, Adam Luck and Robert Gilliland, who each will be first-time members on the five-person board.

Oklahoma has the nation’s highest incarceration rate and its prison population is over capacity. Less than 34 percent of nonviolent parole requests were approved by the parole board in fiscal year 2018 and there is currently a backlog of more than 1,000 requests for review.

Stitt would like the board to approve more names than has been customary in recent years, according to the governor’s staff.

“The collective knowledge of our three new Pardon and Parole Board appointments, and their experience around criminal justice in Oklahoma, will bring a fresh perspective to the review process,” Stitt said.

“I look forward to working alongside the entire board to address the backlog in the system and move the needle in criminal justice reform for non-violent offenders.”

Luck, 30, is a former member of the Oklahoma State Board of Corrections and chaired the state Department of Correction’s criminal justice reform committee.

At a January forum, Luck presented his committee’s recommendations, which include doubling the felony theft threshold to $2,000 and reducing sentences for some drug offenses.

“Our high incarceration rate … is a growing issue and it’s only going to get worse until we make some significant investments and policy changes,” Luck told The Oklahoman last year.

Luck is also CEO of City Care, a non-profit organization working with Oklahoma City residents in extreme poverty.

Doyle, 38, is deputy executive director of the Center for Employment Opportunities, which helps released inmates access jobs and housing.

Her appointment fills a state requirement that one Pardon and Parole Board member have experience in mental health services or social work.

“This is very encouraging news because these folks already have a working relationship with the Department of Corrections and I feel that will be a big asset in rehabilitation efforts,” said Kevin Armstrong, board president for Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE).

Gilliland, 77, is a former trial lawyer with experience in both state and federal courts. He also served as chair of the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission from 2015 to 2017.

Allen McCall, a retired judge, is on the board as the appointment of the chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Larry Morris, a retired probation officer, is on the board as the appointment of the presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The terms of McCall and Morris both expire in 2023.


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