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Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Colorado parole audit expanded to cover budget issues

The Denver Post

An audit of Colorado's parole operations is being expanded to review whether budget issues are keeping parole officers from placing some high-risk parolees under intensive, electronic-monitoring supervision.
Roger Werholtz, interim director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, has asked the National Institute of Corrections to expand the scope of its audit into the state's parole operations to cover budget issues, spokeswoman Alison Morgan said Thursday.
On Wednesday, Tim Hand, the state's director of parole, was put on a paid leave of absence. Hand has not returned telephone calls seeking comment. Morgan declined to discuss the reasons he had been placed on leave.
The parole division has been under scrutiny since the killing of prisons chief Tom Clements by a parolee in March.
In an interview in April with The Denver Post, Hand spoke of the challenges of monitoring parolees on intensive supervision.
"We're in a situation where you manage people closely when they first come out, but 800 new people are coming out of prison every month, and you have to put new groups on high risk," Hand said.
But he later said budget issues are not a factor in determining who is monitored electronically.
Documents obtained by The Post through an open-records request show that the state has in some cases been unable to place or keep parolees under intensive supervision, which requires electronic monitoring and extra scrutiny, because of "caps" or budgetary limitations on the program.
In one of those cases, a parolee who was an alleged American Nazi Party recruit went on to kill a woman in Colorado Springs. In another, a parolee killed a 79-year-old

woman in her Weld County home during an attempted burglary.Morgan said the audit by the NIC, an agency within the U.S. Justice Department, will probe whether parole officers are properly classifying the risk that parolees pose to the public.


Dr. Brook Henderson said...

The issue is less about Parole's budget and more about the horrendous financial pressure on each person returning from prison. Perhaps an article could be written highlighting what these people go through. Their reoffenses could be seen in a different light.

Lily Frasch said...

I agree with Dr. Henderson. Not only are parolees under severe financial pressure, they are also required to attend and pay for numerous appointments each week with limited transportation options making it difficult to secure or be available for full time employment! I also have first hand experience that while providing transportation for someone to their appointments, the person they are scheduled to see isn't even there. This happens all too frequently and would never be tolerated in the free world! Now that I have witnessed the pressures parolees are placed under, I have a new understanding of why so many parolees are rearrested for missing appointments, failing to make financial requirements or then choose to abscond. We seriously need to rethink the entire parole system, who it really is serving, ie: keeping people employed rather than assisting offenders to become lawful and independent taxpayers?