new parole board
The governor says she hopes to restore
the credibility of the three-member authority
Declaring a need to restore the credibility to the Hawaii Paroling Authority, Gov. Linda Lingle named a youth corrections specialist as its chairman yesterday and two new members also with criminal justice experience.
Named to head the three-member panel was Albert Tufono, a corrections program administrator with the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility since 2001. Tufono served a part-time temporary term on the parole board earlier this year.
Named as members are Dane Oda, the Kauai terminal manager for the McCabe, Hamilton & Renny stevedoring firm and a former police sergeant, and businessman Edward Slavish, president of a commercial real estate brokerage firm and president of the John Howard Association, a nonprofit group that helps inmates return as productive members of the community.
The appointments require Senate confirmation when the Legislature meets next year, but all three can begin serving immediately.
The board has been in disarray since November when then-Gov. Ben Cayetano placed chairman Alfred Beaver on paid leave after allegations he used his position to try to get a convicted robber's sentence commuted and had personal business dealings with another convict who was given an early discharge from parole.
Beaver resigned in March after Lingle, who took office Dec. 2, gave him the choice of resigning or being removed.
In April, parole board member Lani Rae Garcia resigned after she was arrested on a domestic-abuse charge.
Since then, member Mary Tiwanak, whose term was to expire June 30, has remained on as chairwoman with two sets of temporary members.
"The parole board has faced some high-profile challenges in recent months," Lingle said in announcing her appointees. "I'm confident our three new board members will focus on the job before them and carry out their responsibilities fairly, with the utmost integrity and with an overriding concern for the safety of our community."
The board establishes the minimum terms of imprisonment, grants or denies parole, revokes parole when necessary and provides supervision for parolees.
It also reviews and makes recommendations on applications for gubernatorial pardons.
The chairman gets a salary of about $78,000 a year while the two members get paid an hourly rate for attending meetings based on 80 percent of the chairman's salary.
Lingle said that in making her selections she was "looking to re-establish the credibility of the paroling authority."
"I think that has to be their first order of business. The paroling authority lost the confidence and respect of the community and these three men know that they have to re-establish that in order to be taken as a serious part of the criminal justice system," she said.
Lingle said she wouldn't want to have the job of "making a decision on whether or not to parole somebody and then having to have some responsibility if things don't work out."
Tofuno said the board's focus will be to ensure that the community is safe.