Board of Parole

Protecting the Public by Conducting Informed Hearings

A Brief History of the Parole System in Delaware

Since 1923, the Delaware Board of Parole has had full authority to grant parole to adult offenders committed to the state prison system. The earliest written documents of the Board, dated 1937, indicate that the Board consisted of 3 part-time members appointed for 3 year terms by the State Supreme Court, with the Chairman designated by a vote of the members. The Director of Field Parole Services served as Administrator and Field Parole Officers were appointed by the Board.

In 1964, the Delaware General Assembly created the Department of Correction and revised the laws relating to the Board of Parole. Parole supervision was transferred to the Department of Correction, Division of Probation and Parole.

In 1970, legislation was passed creating a 5 member board, with a full-time Chairperson. Oliver W. Casson, the first full-time Chairperson, was appointed by Governor Russell W. Peterson and served in this capacity until his retirement in May 1991. On July 8, 1991, Marlene Lichtenstadter, who was appointed by Governor Michael N. Castle, replaced Mr. Casson as Chairperson. Ms. Lichtenstadter retired in March of 2002. Governor Ruth Ann Minner appointed Dwight F. Holden as Chairperson on July 1, 2002.

Under current law, the Board of Parole consists of a full-time Chairperson and four part-time Members, one from each county and one from the City of Wilmington. The Chairperson, who serves at the pleasure of the Governor, with Senate confirmation, must have experience in the area(s) of probation, parole, and/or other related areas of corrections. The requirement for the part-time membership is a demonstrated interest in correctional treatment or social welfare. Members serve 4 year terms upon appointment by the Governor and Senate confirmation and may be reappointed.