Sunday, August 07, 2005

Weak probation leaves 10,000 unsupervised in Dallas

Dallas' weak probation system can't locate large numbers of the people under its charge, reported the Dallas News yesterday:
Managing probationers is key to preventing more crime, experts say. About one-third of all people arrested in Texas are on probation at the time police detain them ...

Such statistics feed the concerns of people like Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle. He says his department cannot, by itself, slash the city's crime rate – which is the highest among the nation's cities with more than 1 million residents.

"We're arresting people to the point that all the jails and detention centers are full," the chief said. "All parts of the criminal justice system are going to have to work as efficiently as possible."

Budget constraints mean Dallas County's caseloads are high and getting higher. Probation officers typically are assigned to supervise about 140 people apiece, said Dr. Jim Mills, the Community Supervision and Corrections Department's interim director. The goal, according to the study, should be 60.
You can expect more of these stories from around the state in the coming months. Governor Perry vetoed legislation in June aimed at solving the state's overincarceration crisis, though News reporter Brooks Egerton seemed unaware of it. That probably means voters are unaware, too, of the link between the Governor's veto of HB 2193 and diminishing public safety.

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