Oklahoma Pardon And Parole Board May Step Up Security Due To Threats
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole board is looking at stepping up security and possibly moving where it holds its parole hearings in an effort to avoid a catastrophic event.
This comes in the wake of increasing concerns about threats against board members.
The new chairman of State Pardon and Parole Board confirms that they did discuss those security measures during their board meeting Thursday. They also brought up concerns about a comment that appeared on our website, at News9.com.
The comment was posted about a story we did on Tuesday. It was about the parole hearing for convicted killer James Abels Jr. whose parole was denied.
Someone who goes by the name of Rod wrote quote,
"Knowing parole boards in Oklahoma they'll probably let him out. If so we can only hope the next time he murders it'll be someone on one of those parole boards."
The chairman confirms that statement did cause some concern for a member of the parole board. But it is not the only reason for the board considering extra security.
Chairman Marc Dreyer confirms the board has been considering extra security measures since the spring, and has considered moving their parole hearings to the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McLoud.
The board currently holds their meetings at Hillside Community Corrections Center in Oklahoma City.
Mabel Bassett has metal detectors and x-ray machines that could screen visitors, whereas Hillside only uses wands.
Dr. Dreyer says a family member of a death row inmate did make an attempt to intimidate him once after a clemency hearing, but never made good on his threat.
But the chairman says their meetings are open and accessible to the public, they just want them to be safe.