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Government & Politics

Former State Parole Board Member Resigns Out of 'Sheer Frustration'

photo of prison cell
A former state senator has concerns about how the parole board operates.

A former state senator has left the Ohio Parole Board, saying there are serious problems with how the prison system is operated.

Democratic former Sen. Shirley Smith of Cleveland spent three years on the parole board, but left last month out of what she calls “sheer frustration”.

“They operate without any integrity. They don’t seem to care about humanity. And they don’t operate with any decency.”

Smith says board members can miss hearings and still vote on cases, that they too often fall on the side of prosecutors and victims, and that the board and staff aren’t diverse. She says she’s talked to lawmakers who are considering changes they can make.

A prisons spokesperson hasn’t responded to all these claims, but has said that Gov. Mike DeWine’s nominee to head the agency will be looking to add members to create an inclusive and diverse parole board.