A former prosecutor and executive director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Erika Tindill, was nominated to serve as chair of the state Board of Pardons and Paroles Monday.
Tindill of New Haven said her priority as chair will be public safety.
“Under my watch the board will use all available resources to make well-informed, responsible and just decisions about pardons and offender reengagement with community,” Tindill said at a Capitol press conference.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Tindill has a balanced background both having been a prosecutor in Florida, deputy director of the New Haven Legal Assistance Association, and victims advocate.
Tindill will replace Robert Farr, a former Republican lawmaker who served as chairman of the Board of Pardons and Paroles in the wake of the Cheshire murders by two parolees. By all accounts Farr seemed to have brought some stability to the board during a turbulent time period and worked well with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
“This is not to say that Mr. Farr hasn‘t done what he was asked by the prior administration,” Malloy said Monday. Like all of former Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s appointees, Farr was asked to submit a resignation letter.
Tindill will be one of 15 members of the board of pardons and paroles, an independent panel that has the authority to grant pardons and commute sentences for criminal convictions. It also has the power to grant parole to offenders.
The Board of Pardons and Paroles found itself at the center of a hornet’s nest following the murders of a Cheshire family because it failed to obtain the post-sentencing transcripts for the two parolees charged with the crime.
Malloy thinks its important to bring a different set of skills to the board as it prepares to transition with huge advances in technology. Tindill will play a crucial role helping develop and roll out new information technology which makes it possible for police, corrections, judicial, and the board to communicate.
Malloy said he was surprised at how little progress there had been on building a communications infrastructure in this area when he took office, which is why he made sure the Bond Commission approved $8 million to start building this technology system.
“The information getting to Pardons and Parole at this point is not comprehensive,” Malloy said. “We’re years after that unfortunate incident and we don’t have comprehensive access to all information necessary, in my opinion, to make those decisions.”
Tindill said having complete information and being able to make a decision on that information is important.
“We’re not infallible. Mistakes certainly will be made, but the idea is to be proactive about getting the best information possible we can to make responsible decisions,” Tindill said.
Tindill’s nomination will need to be confirmed by the legislature. Her start date is May 2 and her salary will be $132,600.