The Fort Worth Star Telegram brings word of a new state auditor's report detailing how an oveburdened parole systems struggles to monitor ex-prisoners under its charge ("Survey reveals flaws in parole system; officers blame computer system," June 21):
According to the report itself (available in pdf here) "The Department supervised 77,526 offenders on parole and mandatory supervision during fiscal year 2007. During this same time period, 31,904 allegations of parole violations were presented by the Department to the Board of Pardons and Paroles (Board) for administrative decisions, which resulted in 10,251 revocations of parole."
In a survey, auditors found that for 55 percent of offenders, parole officers scheduled drugs tests one to three months later than required by state regulations.
In 12 percent of the cases reviewed, parole officers did not make all of the required monthly contacts with parolees.
Part of the problem is aging equipment.
Parole officers complained about frequent slowdowns in the computer system used to track parolee records. The system was supposed to be completely replaced seven years ago, but the replacement is still incomplete, auditors said.
The Parole Division of the Department of Criminal Justice employs about 1,250 parole officers to keep track of about 78,000 parolees.
Providing adequate support, oversight and re-entry services to parolees is important because recidivism is a big source of crime - around 30% of Texas parolees re-enter prison within three years. Of course, that also means 70+% don't.
From the report, here's the list of the ten Texas counties with the most people on parole or mandatory supervision:
El Paso 1,776
Fort Bend 682
All Other Counties and Offenders Supervised Out of State 33,395