The Study Reveals that New Jersey Parole Officers Do not Maintain the Regular in Person Contact with Their Sex Offenders’ Parolees

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The latest study discovered that law enforcement officers did not conduct the required personal visits with sexual offenders and other released convicted criminals who are currently under monthly supervision, which could put a safety of residents at risk and also jeopardize the positive outcome of rehabilitation activities.

It was stated in the study that 32 out of 60 sexual offenders who were the part of the study within the indicated period of time did not have any personal contact with their probation officers. Moreover, a properly timed contact did not take place with 48 out of 100 violent offenders used for the study and who were placed under “obligatory parole supervision”.

So far the study uncovered that a good number of mandatory in person residence visitations have not occurred throughout the expected time period. In addition, the report mentioned issues with obligatory illegal substance and alcohol use medical examinations, as well as residence visitations, which were meant to confirm that criminal offenders reside exactly where they claim they do by talking to people who live in houses nearby offenders’ residence or with their housemates.

Linda Greenstein, who is a Democrat and the New Jersey Senate Representative and who has strongly suggested to make the state’s sexual offenders laws tougher, revealed that she was in fact greatly worried about the study conclusions.

Moreover, the State Auditor’s Stephen Eells Report states that in fact, lack of offenders’ supervision could cause a greater potential risk to the community along with a decreased chance that the criminal offenders would accomplish a lasting character change.

A bill that Greenstein supported one year ago had a clause that would have reduced the quantity of sexual offenders per a probation and parole officers to 40. Upon the request of the Parole Board and the administration of a governor Chris Christie that specific clause of the bill was taken out prior to signing the bill into active law this January by the governor.

Greenstein also said that a revealed lack of offenders’ supervision is not the liability of parole officers, but a persistent problem with the Parole Board and the belief that none of suggested reforms were required.

However, the executive director of the Parole Board David Thomas stated that the study exposed the cases where parole officers did not perform their job duties the way they have been required.

However, David Thomas and James Plousis, who is a Parole Board Chairman and who also wrote a response letter to the audit, both said that the issues revealed by the study are a little bit out of base due to the fact that they don’t address the modifications that were done to the parole supervision and the way it is carried out.

David Thomas said that even though the parole policies have not been modified, the best techniques of performing the residence visitations have been adjusted. Now parole officers do not schedule the meeting at a specific time, but show up at offenders’ residence without a prior notice.

The study has proved that unannounced visits to offenders’ homes are more successful and increase the likelihood of seeing the offenders in their true environment.

Thus, when you have about 300 parole officers and nearly 15,000 offenders who require the supervision, each officer gets approximately 50 cases. In this situation, it is the logical thing to select the top quality above the quantity. Often, parole officers are required to go to an offender’s residence several times in order to see his or her in person.

In the year of 2012 state parole officers carried out more than 165,000 unannounced residence visitations. In almost 41,000 of those visitations, the parole officers did not see their supervised parolees.

When the study was performed, the auditors evaluated the events that took place during the specified timeline for making a contact with the offenders, which can go from two times a month to one time every 5 or 6 months based on the parolee status and situation.

Therefore, according to the president of the State Policemen’s Benevolent Association Local 326 Tom Lambert, in the event the study extended the timeline past the rule’s requirement, the level of compliance would surely have improved substantially.

Source: NJ.com
http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/01/audit_parole_officers_not_keeping_regular_tabs_on_sex_offenders.html