Members bring valuable perspective to Pardon and Parole Board
July 1, 2020
In May, The Oklahoman reported that District Attorney Laura Austin Thomas requested two members of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board no longer be allowed to hear cases that were litigated in Payne and Logan counties. Thomas claims Kelly Doyle and Adam Luck, members appointed by Governor Kevin Stitt, cannot be impartial, citing their positions with organizations that support those recently released from prison.
In reality, it’s their positions with those organizations that make them ideal for the board. Doyle is the deputy director of the Center for Employment Opportunities and Luck serves as the director at City Care. The Center for Employment Opportunities works with those recently released from prison to find meaningful employment, and City Care provides services for the homeless population in Oklahoma City.
In 2018, the legislature amended the law that controls eligibility for appointment to the Pardon and Parole Board. Included was a requirement that “[a]t least two members of the Pardon and Parole Board shall have five years of training or experience in mental health services, substance abuse services, or social work.” By amending the statute, the legislature sent a clear message to the executive that these areas of expertise are important and must be represented on the board.
The areas of expertise enumerated by the statute are exactly what Luck and Doyle bring to the board. Both have extensive experience in social work—regularly interacting with populations going through mental health and substance abuse issues. Doyle’s resume includes a master’s degree in social service administration.
In appointing them, Governor Stitt fulfilled the legislature’s mandate. The attacks on Luck and Doyle are nothing more than an attempt to undermine the integrity of the board at a time when Oklahoma faces the dual challenges of high incarceration rates and prison overcrowding.
Image courtesy of Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board Zoom webinar.