- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The state’s parole board wants to require approval from more members before inmates can have their cases re-examined.

Under current rules, only one board member must give his or her OK for the board to grant a second look at the case of an inmate who has already been denied parole once.

A rule change the board approved in a special meeting Monday in its special meeting would require approval from four members before a parole case could be reopened. Board spokesman Solomon Graves said the changes will either lapse or become permanent within 120 days, after a 30-day public comment period.

The move comes about two weeks after board members answered state lawmakers questions following the September abduction and death of Beverly Carter, a North Little Rock real estate agent. Arron Lewis was released on parole last year and is charged in the slaying. He’s pleaded not guilty to the charges and is awaiting trial.

Graves told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1s2XseD ) the board’s vote wasn’t necessarily tied to Lewis’ arrest since his parole wasn’t granted from a reconsideration request.

“The Board continuously reviews policies and procedures to determine areas that need adjustment,” Graves said in an emailed statement. “This change came out of that ongoing review and a belief that the current language was unclear.”

Parole Board Chairman John Felts said he doubted the change would significantly affect the state’s overall prison population.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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