Georgia Parole Board meets with victims in Newton County

press release from the office of the Alcovy Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office

Editor’s Note: The Newton County District Attorney’s Office and the Walton County District Attorney’s Office both fall under the Alcovy Judicial Circuit Court.

Left: Alcovy Judicial Circuit District Attorney Randy McGinley with Georgia Parole Board Vice Chairman David Herring; above right McGinley, District Attorney’s Office Victim Services Director Leslie Smith (top right) Herring  along with Clemency staff and members of the Georgia Office of Victim Services and bottom right; members of the Georgia Office of Victim Services. Contributed photos

The Newton County District Attorney’s Office recently hosted the Georgia Parole Board for a Victim
Impact Session (VIS) at the Newton County Courthouse. These Sessions allow victims and families of
victims to speak directly to a parole board member and other staff. Vice Chairman of Parole Board, David Herring attended this VIS and met with victims of violent crimes in which the defendant is set to be reviewed for a parole decision in the near future.

According to the staff of the Board of Pardons and Parole, “The VIS allows victims to speak to a parole
board member in a confidential meeting that includes staff from the Georgia Office of Victim Services
(GOVS) and Clemency staff. Information provided by victims is then added to the offender case files
available for all parole board members to review prior to making parole decisions. The cases involved are scheduled to be reviewed within the next 18 months by the board. This allows for the latest input from victims and the district attorney.”

About this Impact Session, Vice Chair Herring said, “I am grateful to these victims for agreeing to meet
today. These victims are making their voices heard and becoming a necessary part of the parole decision-making process.”

The DA’s Office worked along with the Office of Victim Services to coordinate these meetings with victims and their families. The Courthouse served as a safe place for these meetings. Further, some of the victims were assisted at the time the cases were going through court by the same victim advocates that are with the DA’s Office.

“I want to thank Vice Chair Herrings, Execuive Director Chris Barnett, and all staff with Pardons and Parole and the Office of Victim Services for picking Newton County to host this Victim Impact Session. It is important for victims of crimes to know that their voices and opinions are listened to even years after they were victimized. I also want to thank our Victim Services Director Leslie Smith for coordinating and ensuring victims continue to be well served in Newton County. Even years after a conviction and sentence, the DA’s Office assists victims in navigating the appeal process and then the parole system in Georgia. This includes ensuring that victims are signed up for notifications
from the Parole Board. It also includes providing additional information to the Parole Board about defendants and their crimes, including making sure any victim impact statements given to the DA’s Office is shared with the Parole Board. Finally, the DA’s Office, at times, provides written objections to an offender’s parole decision. This is based on the crime, the offender’s criminal history, and numerous other factors,” Alcovy Judicial Circuit District Attorney Randy McGinley said. “As District Attorney, I am grateful that the Georgia Parole Board continues to involve victims and prosecutors in their important work and decisions.”

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