Gov. Mike DeWine has signed an executive order to create a panel that will review Ohio’s parole system and how those who leave prison are supervised.
The review comes after two six year olds were killed in a crash in Dayton in August - recent parolee Raymond Walters allegedly stabbed his father, stole a police car and caused the crash.
DeWine said that’s one of the horror stories he’s heard: “Great tragedies where someone who came out of prison who was supposed to be under supervision committed another horrendous act. And the public has a right to know that we’re looking at this.”
Walters had been out of prison for 16 days when the fatal crash happened. A new investigative report from the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction showed he was assigned to a parole officer who'd been on the job for less than a year and was supervising 65 offenders, which was described in the report as "commensurate with her level of experience".
DeWine said he wants to know whether current supervision policies are correct, and if caseloads are too heavy and if there's a better ratio of parole officers to offenders. Right now DRC data shows a total of 452 parole officers in Ohio supervising 36,731 cases.
"Most people we send to prison do come out, and some are going to mess up. So we need to supervise them and if they do, we need the ability to send them back," DeWine said.
The review team is led by former state prisons director Reginald Wilkinson and current director Annette Chambers-Smith. Other members of the panel are:
- Annette Chambers-Smith, ODRC director, co-chair
- Dr. Reginald Wilkinson, former ODRC director, co-chair
- Stuart Hudson, ODRC assistant director and former parole officer
- Dr. Edward Latessa, University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice
- Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township)
- Prosecutor Kevin Talebi, Champaign County
- Elizabeth Poprocki, Ohio Victim Witness Association
- Molly Gauntner, Ohio Chief Probation Officer’s Association
- Sara Andrews, Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission