Parole Contact Issues Raised by State Auditor!!
This issue is huge, it affects the indigent defender, diversion, probation & parole, and domestic violence programs, among others. All these well meaning programs are severely underfunded, meaning the counselors are way too few. The District Attorney and Judges have been expanding the programs as well. When you have a couple hundred clients, the only ones you keep track of are the ones that are in trouble with the law. Putting out fires is the name of the game. I’ve written about this in multiple blog posts. When we chronically underfund these programs we pay with higher crime rates, that’s not much of a bargain.
Probation & parole agents (PPA) are supposed to visit 1 in 5 violent offenders they are supervising after serving their prison terms. According to the Louisiana legislative auditor who conducted a performance sampling of PPA field agents, this roughly 22% rate was not met.
Louisiana has a whopping 60,000+ prison felons living across the state whose first years out of the joint are supervised by the Division of Adult Probation and Parole. How can the limited number of PPAs visit roughly 250-300 clients each month or so? That’s impossible. All become caretakers.
Gerald Starks, director of the state Probation and Parole office, said officers made conscious decisions to focus on offenders having problems, rather than those having fewer issues. “We’re going to see the person who needs to be seen,” Starks said, adding that the state’s low recidivism rates after three and five years are among the best in the country.
Starks said auditors wrongly counted those offenders on whom risk assessments were not completed. For instance, many offenders transfer to another state upon release. The new state is required to – and does – write the assessment, but auditors considered the report unwritten, he said.
I know a Probation and Parole Agent, he carries a gun and has been there for a long time. He has 250 clients, so he’s best at assessing his brood, and being a fireman.