SUMMARY OF: A Sunset Review of the Department of Corrections, Board of Parole, August 28, 2007.

Purpose of the Report

In accordance with the intent of Titles 24 and 44 of the Alaska Statutes, we reviewed the activities of the Board of Parole to determine if the board is operating in the best interest of the public and carries out a public purpose. As required by AS 44.66.050(a), the committee of reference is to consider this report during the legislative oversight process as it determines whether the board should be reestablished, or for how the long the termination date for the board should be extended. Currently, under AS 44.66.010(a)(2) the board will terminate on June 30, 2008, and will have one year from that date to conclude its affairs.

Report Conclusions

Under AS 33.16, the Board of Parole serves as the parole authority for the State. As such, the board fulfills the Alaska Constitution requirement that the State establish a parole system. The board’s primary responsibilities include determining a prisoner’s suitability for discretionary parole and setting conditions for individuals receiving parole. Another major responsibility of the board is the holding of parole revocation hearings.

The board conducts its business in a professional manner. Although we have concerns about the board’s accessibility to the general public and accountability over how effectively it is operating (see Recommendation No. 1), we believe there is a demonstrated public need for the Board of Parole. Accordingly, the termination date of the board should be extended.

Currently, the board is scheduled to terminate operations on June 30, 2008. If the legislature does not extend the termination date for the board, it will have one year from that date to conclude operations. We recommend that the legislature extend the board’s termination date to June 30, 2016.

Findings and Recommendations

  1. The Board of Parole should increase public accessibility to, and accountability for, its administrative actions and operations.For more than four years, the board has not had a meeting that provided an opportunity for the public to observe or comment on the board’s activities. Additionally, since 2001 the board has not formally issued a statistical report summarizing how effective the board has been at achieving operating objectives.The board should improve its accessibility and accountability to the public in two important ways:
    • The board should hold a general session meeting, open to the public, at least once a year.
    • The board should periodically report on its activities and the results of those activities to the legislature and the Office of Management and Budget.

    Such actions would assist the board in: improving public accessibility, increasing accountability, improving its administration, and achieving greater compliance with operational expectations reflected in state law.

Prior Audit Recommendations

The following two prior audit recommendations have both been appropriately resolved and addressed:

  1. The Board of Parole should develop a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Corrections to formally reflect the de facto partial “delegation” of the board’s responsibilities under statute for the notification of victims of their right to comment at parole hearings.
  2. The board should seek reauthorization from the governor for compensation of board members. Such reauthorization should be structured in a manner that accurately reflects the tasks performed by the Board of Parole.The following prior audit recommendation has been partially implemented, and improvements were apparent in this review:
  3. The board should initiate procedures that allow for a review of the risk assessment form to ensure that all mathematical calculations are performed correctly.