BILLINGS — Records show Montana’s new parole board is granting inmates’ release sooner after changes were made last year.
The Billings Gazette reports data released this week by the Criminal Justice Oversight Council says the Board of Pardons and Parole granted release to 47 percent of inmates on their first appearance in 2017. That number went up to 67 percent by April.
The Department of Corrections says the time between initial parole eligibility and release had more than tripled between 2000 and 2013.
In response, lawmakers required the parole board to be made up of five full-time, paid members, rather than the seven volunteers who served under the old system. The board also must use new criteria for approving or denying parole.
The board now holds hearings three days a week, instead of one week a month.