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Chairman says 'drastic changes' must be made to Virginia Parole Board

Posted at 4:07 PM, Jan 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-09 17:38:52-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia's current parole board chairman released a report on Monday, detailing the results of a thorough review that was conducted at the request of Governor Glenn Youngkin.

In the report, retired judge Chadwick Dotson wrote that "drastic changes" must be made to the way the agency operates. He said that should include more dedicated staffers and increased transparency. Specifically, Dotson recommended that the parole board expand to six full-time members and open up parole hearings to the public. He said the board also needs a new computer database and an upgraded website.

Dotson suggested that the General Assembly pass a law requiring future boards to consult with Commonwealth's Attorneys before granting parole, something that the current board does but isn't required by state law.

The parole board scandal began in April 2020 when CBS 6 first reported that the board had granted parole to Vincent Lamont Martin who had been serving a life sentence for killing a Richmond Police officer.

The victim's family protested, saying they had not been given a fair chance to argue against Martin's release and Richmond's top prosecutor asked the board to rescind their decision. Martin was ultimately released after several delays.

The Office of the Inspector General later found fault with the way the Martin case and several others were handled.

The governor replaced the entire parole board when he took office last January. The Attorney General is currently conducting an investigation of the previous board's actions.

Click here to read the full report on the parole board.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.