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July 07, 2011 04:55 PM

State Lawmakers Want Answers On McVay


As friends and family gather to remember Maybelle Schein, the man accused of murdering her sits in a Wisconsin jail cell.

Many people are wondering whether the South Dakota Department of Corrections could have done more to prevent the crime and protect the community.

Since the suspect, James McVay, was on his best behavior behind bars, he was automatically released on parole and never had to go before the Board of Pardons and Paroles. KELOLAND News spoke with a South Dakota lawmaker about the policy and the safety concerns.

James McVay was serving time for a grand theft conviction and 2009 escape.

On Thursday, McVay was put on parole and moved to a minimum security unit outside the prison fence. There, he was supposed to take part in the department's transition program for former-inmates.

But on Friday, authorities say McVay took off and never returned.

"He did something illegal that was unforeseeable," State Senator Joni Cutler of Sioux Falls said.

State senator Joni Cutler serves on the legislature's executive board. It's the governing committee that takes on issues like this when the legislature is not in session. 

"I think it's a little too early to know where any weaknesses that exist may occur, we are still waiting for information we don't have yet, so it's difficult to assess what happened in the process at this point," 

Don Jorgensen: Why wasn't the media notified when he didn't return? Is that a policy that needs to be looked at?
Joni Cutler:  I think there are some great questions like that we need some answer to," Cutler said.

The executive board will be meeting with officials with the department of corrections on August 22nd to see if policy and procedures need to be changed when it comes to paroling inmates like McVay.
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