Upson County resident Beth Oxford was recently named the Director of Parole of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles.
As the agency's top ranking officer, Oxford ultimately manages a staff of more than 800 employees, including approximately 300 parole officers. Most parole officers carry a caseload of more than 75 parolees each. Oxford manages all the daily operations of the Parole Board, and reports to the five Board Members, each public safety professionals who determine the release dates of Georgia's prison inmates.
Oxford has already set several priorities as she takes over the leadership of the state agency. According to Oxford, first and foremost is the agency's commitment to public safety and concern for victims of crime. She has developed a plan for employee empowerment, to
include a fair and equal opportunity for promotions, and a program for employees' professional development through additional training and education. She has initiated an internal review to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the overall operation of the agency. Oxford has also already focused agency resources toward the "re-entry effort," a nationwide initiative to reduce recidivism by carefully transitioning offenders back into their neighborhoods as productive citizens. Through sentence expiration and parole, an average of 346 inmates return to their local communities from Georgia prisons each week.
Oxford began her 20-year career with the Parole Board as a parole officer in 1983. Over the next several years, Oxford was promoted to positions Including Chief Parole Officer, Hearing Examiner, Program Manager, Assistant Division Director and Division Director, Oxford served the Georgia Department of Corrections as the Director of the Programs Division, where she planned and directed all activities for the Office of Health Services and Risk Reduction Services. With a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Georgia State University, Oxford Is also a POST certified peace officer and instructor.
"Beth's variety of experience throughout this agency commands the respect of every employee we have," said Parole Board Chairman, Milton E. "Buddy" Nix. "Her focus on public safety is exactly where this agency should be headed."
The Parole Board was created in 1943 and given the authority to grant paroles, reprieves and pardons to offenders currently serving in the Georgia prison system. The Board supervises approximately 22,000 parolees in Georgia, and has the seventh largest parole population In the nation.
According to the Parole Board's Criminal Justice Research Office, Georgia's rate of parolees who successfully complete their parole period is approximately 74%, much higher than the national success rate average of 42%.