DOC commissioner wants lawmakers to change how inmates are paroled

May 21, 2019 05:59 PM

There's a push to change how inmates are paroled in Minnesota. 

Inmates serving life sentences with the possiblity of parole must serve a minimum of 30 years. 


Minnesota Commissioner of Corrections Paul Schnell has the sole power to keep them behind bars or let them walk free.

Now Schnell wants lawmakers to create a parole review board, where five people would make the parole decision.

One of the reasons behind the push for a parole board in Minnesota is an inconstancy in granting parole by the past three Department of Corrections Commissioners. Below are the percentages of parole being granted to eligible inmates serving life sentences out of the total number of cases reviewed by Sheryl Ramstad, Joan Fabian, and Tom Roy during their respective tenures as commissioner.

"I want people to have confidence not just in me or the people who come after me," Schnell said. "I want them to have confidence there's a mixed group of people with some solid backgrounds that are making these decisions on behalf of the people of Minnesota."

Minnesota is one of only four states where these decisions are made by one person rather than a panel of experts. 

It appears lawmakers will take a look at changing the system during next year's session. 

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Joe Mazan

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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