COLUMBUS, Ohio—Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered a re-examination of Ohio’s parole policies after a recently paroled Dayton man was arrested for stabbing his father, stealing a police cruiser, and crashing into a van, killing two girls inside.
DeWine, a Greene County Republican, has turned to a favored tactic to find a solution: creating a advisory board — the nine-member Governor’s Working Group on Post-Release Control — to recommend improvements. State prisons agency director Annette Chambers-Smith and ex-director Reginald Wilkinson will co-chair the panel, according to a release issued Monday.
“I have serious concerns that some post-release control policies aren’t strong enough to adequately monitor offender reentry and also protect the public,” DeWine said in a statement. “It’s time that Ohio takes a good look at improving the post-release control process to help offenders positively transition back into society and to swiftly hold them accountable if they commit a violation of their supervision.”
The working group will review all Ohio Adult Parole Authority policies on post-release control, including rules regarding interactions with people on parole, how much discretion APA officers have to react to violence or mental-health concerns, the amount of time officers have to sanction an offender after a violation, and penalties for failing to appear for a drug test.
In addition, the panel will study “truth in sentencing” laws and their impact on Ohio’s prison system, recommend a state policy regarding which offenders should be placed on GPS monitoring, and review APA caseload sizes and the state’s risk-assessment system for people during various stages of the criminal-justice system.
The APA oversees more than 27,000 felons who have been released from Ohio prisons.
The creation of the working group comes after the governor ordered an internal investigation into the authority’s supervision of Raymond Walters, a convicted robber who was released on Aug. 10 on three years of supervised release, or parole.
On Aug. 26, Walters allegedly stabbed his father repeatedly in a pickup truck after discovering he was being taken to a nearby hospital for mental-health treatment, then drove the truck into a tree. When police responded to the crash, Walters reportedly got behind the wheel of one of their cruisers and drove away, reaching speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour before causing a three-vehicle crash that killed two 6-year-old girls and injured 10 others.
According to WHIO-TV, Walters faces two counts of murder, as well as 20 additional charges that include involuntary manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide, felonious assault, aggravated vehicular assault, robbery, failure to comply with the order/signal of a police officer, vehicular assault, grand theft of a motor vehicle, and vandalism.