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Parole boards decision allows sigh of relief

The Oregon Parole and Post-Prison Supervision Board did a very good thing when it reversed an earlier decision, opting instead to allow the testimony of women raped by Richard Troy Gillmore.

We were disappointed when we learned the board had taken a hard line, telling these women they couldn't speak their mind regarding their attacker's possible release.

Thankfully, Rep. Matt Wand, R-Troutdale, upon learning of the board's initial decision, stepped in with a loud threat to introduce legislation that would force the board to revise its rules. Of course, his legislation wouldn't do anything to help in this instance, but it did serve to draw the Gillmore parole hearing out of the shadows and place it back under the spotlight.

Then another threat landed in the board's email box - this one from an attorney representing Danielle Tudor and any victim being denied an opportunity to speak before the board. The letter threatened litigation if the women were not allowed to speak.

Soon after, the board announced its reversal, allowing the women's estimony. Coincidence? Who knows.

And then came the board's decision on Wednesday to deny Gillmore's parole request, saying he still represents a danger to the public, and that he should stay behind bars for at least another two years.

We applaud that decision, and in the same breath worry that Gillmore's victims are victimized each time they have to relive their horror in front of the parole board.

Because one member of the three-person parole board voted for his release, the board is bound by rules to allow Gillmore to reapply for parole in two years - the usual amount of time an inmate must wait to request parole again. Had the board been unanimous in its decision, it could have pushed his next parole hearing out to five years.

In the next two years, we would like to see a review and revision of the parole board rules. And perhaps this is a point where Wand could be of further assistance.

Perhaps a legislative change would make it possible for a simple majority of parole board members to determine not only whether a prisoner is paroled, but also the length of time between parole hearings.