MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey has appointed former Alabama Attorney General Charlie Graddick to serve as director of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Graddick is the first to serve in this position, created by the passage of HB380, which restructured leadership and codified the current parole guidelines.
The two-term Alabama attorney general comes to the post with an extensive background in law and public service, Ivey said. Graddick will manage the day-to-day business of the board, responsibilities previously held by the board.
“From the start of his career, Judge Graddick dedicated his life to serving the people of Alabama and protecting the law. These are necessary qualities to lead Pardons and Paroles,” Ivey said. “As our state’s top law enforcement official, he was a national leader in advocating for victims’ rights and in prosecuting crimes. I am proud to have someone of Judge Graddick’s experience and caliber at the helm of this board. Public safety is paramount.”
Graddick’s appointment comes after a lengthy fight to restructure the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles after it was discovered that the board was putting violent offenders on the parole docket before they were eligible. WSFA 12 News uncovered this during a lengthy investigation into the board’s parole practices.
This prompted Sen. Cam Ward and Rep. Connie Rowe to sponsor companion legislation to create accountability with the board during the regular session. The legislation was also aimed to give the board more time to dedicate to pardon and parole decisions, leaving the day-to-day management of the agency to the new director.
Board Chairwoman Lyn Head had been vocal in opposing this legislation, specifically regarding the leadership changes. After the bill passed, she said she put her trust in the governor’s decision.
“I trust that Gov. Ivey will do what is best for our state and agency and hope that the improvements which are underway will not be interrupted through the transitions which will be necessitated pursuant to this legislation,” Head previously stated.
Graddick said the appointment is an honor.
“The governor, attorney general and the public have made it clear that our Board of Pardons and Paroles must carry out their duties to ensure justice for victims and safety for all of our citizens. That means that we need to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the operation and make necessary improvements to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency,” Graddick said. “I am honored to lead these efforts as Director. Serving in this capacity, I hope to leave Alabama a safer place to live and raise a family.”
The Victims of Crime and Leniency praised Graddick’s appointment and said the governor’s quick action will restore confidence and trust in the board.
“Judge Graddick brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the ABPP, and is well-known as a ‘Justice Warrior’ to VOCAL and victims of violent crimes,” said VOCAL State Director Janette Grantham. “He has been an advocate for victims since 1975 when he was elected District Attorney of Mobile County. Judge Graddick established the first statewide Victim’s Assistance Office in Alabama, and as a former Alabama Attorney General Judge Graddick was recognized as a prosecutor who was tough on crime.”
During Graddick’s two terms as Alabama’s attorney general, he established the first statewide Victim’s Assistance Office. Judge Graddick also served as chairman of the Southern Association of Attorneys General. He served as Circuit Judge in Mobile County. Most recently, he served the city of Mobile as Senior Judicial Advisor and Director of Courts, where he has been responsible for a dramatic restructure and reform of the city’s justice system, according to the governor’s office.
The new law will go into effect in Sept. 1 and Graddick’s appointment is effective on that day.