Many years ago, Staughton Lynd asked his wife to give him a teaspoon, so he could start tearing down the Ohio supermax prison. Now, after many smaller and bigger victories, in humanizing the Ohio prison system, Alice Lynd sends Prisonersolidarity the news of another major success.
This week, the director of Ohio's prison system announced the end of the "indefinite detention" regime for so-called "high-security" (level 4 and 5) prisoners. Inmates who until now had no prospect of parole are finally given the chance to be released on parole, thanks largely to Staughton and Alice Lynd's persistent pressure and to the oversight of Federal Judge James Gwin (Wilkinson v. Austin) , who has been monitoring the situation in Ohio.
Read Alice's letter, followed by a computer scan of the official memo documenting the new policy. Please distribute this good news widely among Ohio prisoners, who may now finally have the chance to be released on parole.
No Parole Rule Rescinded in Ohio!
Alice Lynd, Prisonersolidarity.org
May 18, 2007
Effective immediately, prisoners on Level 5 and Level 4 can be recommended for release on parole! Attached is a copy of the memo to the Parole Board from the chairman of the Parole Board, approved by Terry Collins on May 16, 2007, rescinding the rule precluding release on parole from Level 4 or Level 5.
When we filed the OSP class action in January 2001, the no parole rule was one of the issues in our Complaint. No parole was one of the factors that led the courts to conclude that imprisonment at OSP is an atypical and significant hardship. In February 2007, after hearing testimony by one of the Level 5A longtermers, Judge Gwin made it clear that he thought it should be the Parole Board (not someone deciding security classification or length of stay) that decides whether or not to release an individual on parole.
The no parole rule was one of the issues in the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law that we were ready to file in court on May 21. But Defendants filed a notice in Austin v. Wilkinson on May 17, 2007 saying they are changing the Parole Board policy.
-- Letter from Terry Collins, Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction --
Case 4:01-cv-00071-JG Document 751-2 Filed 05/17/2007 Page 1 of 1
TO: PAROLE BOARD STAFF
FROM: Cynthia Mausser; Parole Board Chair
RE: Parole Board Hearing Policy 105- PBD-03
DATE: May 16, 2007
Pursuant to section 5149.02 of the Ohio Revised Code, the Director of the
Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is authorized to make rules for
the Parole Authority. Director Collins has told me of his intention to change the policy of the Parole Board concerning the procedure for hearings of inmates in security classification levels 4 and 5.
Effective immediately, Section VI, D, 8(e) on page 9 of Parole Board Hearing
Policy 105-PBD-03 is hereby rescinded. Any inmate classified at a security level of 4 or 5 who is scheduled to appear for a release consideration hearing can receive a recommendation for release onto parole supervision from the institutional hearing panel, subject to consideration of the merits of the release. However, that recommendation must be referred to Central Office Board Review for approval by a majority vote of the Parole Board Members.
This change in procedure will be reflected in policy directive 105-PBD-03 once the policy review procedure is completed.
May 16, 2007
Terry Collins, Director
DEFENDANTS' EXHIBIT A
TEAR DOWN THE WALL
Alice Lynd enters the prison cell exhibit at the Youngstown Prison Forum on June 10, 2006.
Photo: Daniel Sturm, Prisonersolidarity.org