A state audit released Monday morning says some dead people are actually being supervised by parole officers, and those officers are being lax in monitoring some of the state's most violent offenders.
A news release from the State Comptroller's office, which oversees the state audit division, found that “at a minimum, annual arrest checks were completed on behalf of 82 parolees who had been dead for varying lengths of time, ranging from less than six months to more than 19 years. At worst, officers documented contact indicating offenders were still alive.”
In a statement, State Comptroller Justin Wilson, whose office oversees the state audit division, said, “If parole officers are supervising dead people, this is a waste of taxpayer dollars and makes us wonder about the supervision of parolees living in our communities.”
The release indicated the audit also “noted that many files managed by probation and parole officers were not in compliance with all board supervision requirements and were not regularly reviewed by management.
In some cases, officers failed to complete or document their attempts to complete all of the required face-to-face contacts with parolees.
In other cases, officers did not perform required home visits of regular offenders. The audit also showed some sex offenders tracked by GPS equipment had not been properly monitored.”
“The parole officers were not following up on [GPS] alarms as quickly as required to do and those GPS offenders are the ones most likely to re-offend,” said Assistant Director of the Comptroller's division of audit Deborah Loveless.
The audit went on to find “while 82 is a small number compared to the over 60,000 offenders monitored each year, the board [and now the Department of Correction] should consider regularly comparing offender information to either state or social security administration death records.”
“Officers were not doing their own death check, and the board itself was not annually or not periodically comparing Department of Health records like we did to their offender data base,” added Loveless.
The audit, conducted in 2011, also found that “As Noted in the May 2006 Audit, the Board's Probation and Parole Officers are still not completing all supervision requirements.”
On Wednesday morning, the Board of Parole and the Department of Correction are scheduled to appear before members of the government operations committee to respond to the audit on Wednesday.
The Department of Correction took responsibility for parole officers from the Board of Parole on July 1.
Both agencies preferred not to make public statements until Wednesday's hearing.
State lawmaker Joe Carr who sits on committees overseeing funding for the two agencies told News 2, “What I believe is going on here is a serious violation of state law, at the risk of compromising public safety.”
Wednesday's response by the Board of Parole and the Department of Correction will be held beginning at 9 a.m. at Legislative Plaza.