Friday, December 15, 2000

Prosecutors invite e-mail opposing parole

By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamilton County prosecutors will turn to the Internet in the coming months to help block the parole of convicted killers and rapists.

        Prosecutor Mike Allen launched a new Web site Thursday that will provide information about upcoming parole hearings involving Hamilton County offenders.

        The Web site, dubbed “Parole Watch,” also will seek electronic messages from anyone who wants to comment about the case to the Ohio Parole Board.

        Mr. Allen said the idea is to make sure the board knows all the details about each inmate's crime and the impact that crime had on the community.

        “When people from Hamilton County write the parole board and let them know their feelings, they can make a difference,” Mr. Allen said.

        The prosecutor's office has supported several letter-writing campaigns in recent years dedicated to keeping parole-eligible criminals in prison.

        Mr. Allen said the new Web site, at www.hcpros. org/parole, is a high-tech extension of those earlier campaigns. The site includes a photo of the offender, infor mation about the crime and the inmate's next hearing date before the parole board.

        Visitors to the site can compose e-mail and send it to the prosecutor's office. Mr. Allen said all e-mails — both for and against parole — will be forwarded to the parole board.

        At the prosecutor's press conference Thursday, Mr. Allen said the Web site also will help victims' relatives, who often feel they are alone in their opposition to an inmate's release.

        One such relative, Lenore Leach of Deer Park, said she welcomes the help. Her husband, Raymond, was shot and killed in 1981 when Lawrence McNair opened fire at Diamond International Corp. in Lockland.

        One of Mr. Leach's co-workers also was killed, and another was paralyzed.

        Mrs. Leach said she will aggressively oppose Mr. McNair's possible release when he is eligible for a parole hearing next year.

        “We all need to make an effort to make sure these people stay in jail, where they belong,” Mrs. Leach said. “Letting the parole board know your interest has a profound effect.”


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