Gov. Asa Hutchinson plans to name a new board member to the Arkansas Parole Board.
Hutchinson intends to appoint Wendy Ryals to the board, replacing current board member Dawne Vandiver. Ryals will be appointed for a seven-year term, serving from Jan. 15, 2020 to Jan. 14, 2027.
Ryals has an extensive law enforcement background, having served with the Arkansas State Police for more than 20 years. During her ASP tenure, she has served in the Troop A highway patrol, the recruitment department, and the director’s office.
In addition, Ryals is a member of the Arkansas State Police Association and Sheriffs Wives Association of Arkansas.She is married to Faulkner County Sheriff Tim Ryals.
“Wendy Ryals’s training and first-hand experience as a law-enforcement officer will enhance the Parole Board’s oversight of offenders as they re-enter the community. This appointment is consistent with the new requirements of Arkansas law that recommend parole board members to have experience in the criminal justice system,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “Wendy combines this experience with a heart for people that will serve her well as she takes on this critical responsibility. I am grateful that she is willing to put her skills to work in this important task.”
The Arkansas Parole Board consists of seven members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the state Senate. It is an independent board responsible for reviewing pardon and executive clemency applications and making recommendations to the Governor.
The current APB members include John Felts (chairman), Andy Shock (vice chairman), Lona McCastlain (secretary), John Belkin, Abraham Carpenter Jr., and Jerry Riley.