Bill would toughen parole standards

Convicted sex offenders and murderers will have to meet a higher standard to be paroled in Mississippi under a bill awaiting Gov. Haley Barbour’s signature.

The legislation reauthorizing the state Parole Board changes the vote needed to release inmates convicted of murder or a sexual offense. It currently only takes a simple majority on the five-member board. The bill would require a 4-to-1 vote.

The proposed change is a result of the furor that arose after the board voted 3-2 earlier this year to release Douglas Hodgkin from prison.

Hodgkin was convicted in 1987 of capital murder in the death of Jean Elizabeth Gillies, a University of Mississippi graduate student in speech pathology. Hodgkin, of Winchester, Ky., was a junior business major at Ole Miss at the time of the slaying.

The Associated Press, via The CL 4/6/9