Parole Board deserves credit for listening

Published 10:24 pm Wednesday, October 22, 2003

By Staff
It's easy to think sometimes that the thoughts and opinions of those of us in the rural parts of the state go unheeded in the corridors of power and influence where so many decision that impact us are made. Even though it isn't that far from here to Montgomery, sometimes the distance between Brewton and the state capitol seems as though it might as well be measured in light years.
That's the way some people in the community felt in regard to a recent decision made by the state parole board. Over the strongest possible objections from our local district attorney, the board chose to grant release to Gary Henderson, a man serving three life sentences for arson. The board's decision begged the question: Why did they bother to solicit input from people here when they were ultimately going to ignore it? But members of the parole board turned around and did the right thing Monday, when they decided to reconsider their earlier call and schedule a second parole hearing for Henderson. The case was brought back before the board after a number of people from Escambia County protested Henderson's parole, with phone calls and in writing.
No matter what the board ultimately decides in the case of this inmate, its decision to take a second look at the case, at the urging of the public here, at least gives us cause to believe that our voices are heard and listened to -- as long as they're loud enough.

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