On Friday, Gov. Sarah Sanders announced the appointment of Jamol Jones as chairman of the Arkansas Post-Prison Transfer Board, better known as the state parole board.

Jones replaces John Felts as chair, though Felts will remain on the parole board until his term expires in 2026.


Jones, an Army veteran and former police officer with the Benton Police Department, was initially appointed to the parole board last February. Under Arkansas law, however, the parole board chair also has a seat on the Arkansas Board of Corrections. That means Jones’ appointment as chair likely gives the governor another friendly vote in corrections matters while the legal drama between Sanders and the corrections board continues to play out in court.

This is Sanders’ second appointment to the corrections board in recent months. In December, she appointed Brandon Tollett to replace Dr. Whitney Gass, despite Gass’s impressive resume and experience (and Tollett’s comparative lack of both).


In January, the corrections board voted to fire Joe Profiri, the former Arizona prisons official who Sanders picked to head the corrections department a year earlier. That vote was 5-2, with Tollett one of the two dissenting votes. The other was John Felts, suggesting he was not among the board members most at odds with the governor in the current dispute over Profiri, prison beds and authority within the prison system.

UPDATE: Former parole board chair John Felts had this statement about Jamol’s appointment:


It has been a great honor and a privilege to serve the State of Arkansas and four separate Administrations over the past 26 years, 12 years of which I served as Chairman of the Post Prison Transfer Board (Parole Board.) I congratulate my successor Chairman Jamol Jones as he takes the reins of the PPTB and as a member of the Board of Corrections and will support him during this transition.

Attempts to reach Jones for comment were unsuccessful.