Governor Mary Fallin Wednesday released the following statement after District Attorney David Prater filed charges against members of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board:

“The men and women serving on the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board are community leaders and public servants who deserve to be treated with respect. They are tasked with difficult decisions that have a profound impact on many Oklahoma families and communities. While I may sometimes disagree with their individual recommendations, I have been thankful to work with board members who take their job seriously and execute their responsibilities faithfully.

“Last year, District Attorney David Prater made several reasonable observations regarding the way the board communicates. I made it clear at that time that I expected improvements to be made, and I am happy to say the board responded, overhauling its website and pursuing a series of changes aimed at improving transparency. In short, a problem was identified; solutions were offered; the problem is now being solved.

“Filing criminal charges against parole board members that have already worked to address Mr. Prater’s concerns will have a chilling effect on individuals interested in public service. As governor, I have appointed approximately 900 men and women to agencies, boards and commissions. In 2013, I will be appointing hundreds more. It is difficult to imagine men and women who are leaders in their communities wishing to serve in these positions – the vast majority of which draw no salary – if they are constantly in fear of being charged with a crime while making a good-faith effort to follow the law and the recommendations of their paid legal advisors.”