Parolees Released Without Public Hearing Notice

Dozens of Nebraska inmates may have been released on parole this month without many of us knowing about it or having a chance to object. Fact Finders discovered a mistake that caused public notices not to be posted online. The Omaha Police Union is voicing concern.

Twenty-four inmates waited Friday for their open parole hearing where they were grilled by board members. “Were you ever into child pornography?” The public can testify for or against their release. “He has learned a lot from his class here.”

November's public notices on parole hearings didn't get posted until this week after a call from Fact Finders. “Once you notified the Board of Parole that the postings had not been made, we immediately made the correction,” says Parole Board chairwoman Esther Casmer.

During the month of November, when many of the parole hearings had been left off the website, inmates doing time for robbery, sexual assault and even murder faced the Parole Board and some of them were released.

That concerns the president of the Omaha Police Officers Union, which monitors parole hearings. “It’s a matter of public concern and the taxpayers deserve to know who is on the streets that they think is incarcerated because it is an issue,” says Sgt. John Wells.

Casmer says crime victims did get parole notices in other ways. “We would never deliberately place an individual in the community that would jeopardize the safety of anyone."

Not every parole hearing ends with a release as one inmate got a hug of disappointment from family who had public notice to be there.

Here's the reason for the lack of public notice this month. The Parole Board staff member assigned to post hearings diverted her attention to an urgent assignment from the Pardons Board. That urgent assignment was a Supreme Court ruling mandate to re-sentence two-dozen inmates convicted as juveniles.

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