BOSTON (SHNS) – Gov. Maura Healey placed her first nomination before the Governor’s Council on Wednesday, tapping Dr. Charlene Bonner for another five-year term on the Parole Board.
A forensic psychologist and addictive disorder specialist, Bonner was originally appointed to the panel by Gov. Deval Patrick to fill a vacancy in 2011. She was confirmed to a full term by the Governor’s Council in 2013, and again in 2019 after Gov. Charlie Baker renominated her.
Before her appointment 12 years ago, Bonner worked for the Plymouth County courts evaluating offenders for substance abuse, criminal responsibility, and psychological conditions. Earlier in the 2000s, she was a juvenile court clinic psychologist in Middlesex County.
The Kingston resident holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Saint Anselm College, a master’s of education from Bridgewater State University, and a psychology doctorate from William James College.
Bonner has drawn praise from council members, who are tasked with interviewing and approving Parole Board members. Councilors have viewed her social science expertise as balancing out a panel that also includes people with prosecutorial backgrounds.
Councilor Marilyn Petitto Devaney on Wednesday called Bonner “the most respected person that we have ever voted.”
Some councilors said last fall that they would like to see Bonner return to chairing the board, a position she held around eight years ago. The panel is currently chaired by Tina Hurley, picked for the top spot by Baker last November.
South Coast Councilor Joseph Ferreira is set to chair a public hearing on the new term for Bonner on June 21 at 12 noon.
Healey’s letter formally nominating Bonner was dated Tuesday, June 6, and was placed before councilors Wednesday as they gathered for a formal session.
New nominations are usually announced in the course of the meeting, but Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, who presides over the council, did not mention the appointment before asking for a motion to adjourn. That prompted Devaney to interject and raise the matter for discussion.
Devaney, of Watertown, recalled how Bonner continued working on the Parole Board in a limbo status from 2018 to 2019, between the expiration of her first full term and Baker’s decision to reappoint her months later.
“Her term is up June 2. So it’s timely that we do reappoint her,” Devaney said. “And I’m just proud to talk for her. It was one of the best votes I ever took.”