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Audit claims offenders not adequately monitored

May 03, 2006
By: John Amick
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Released criminals are not being properly supervised by the state's Board of Probation and Parole a report from Missouri's State Auditor charged Wednesday.

The audit found a low compliance level of required field officer contacts in regard to the supervision of criminal offenders from 2003 to mid-2005.

"This report is not good," State Auditor Claire McCaskill said in a news conference Wednesday.

"This report indicates that the department is failing in a very meaningful way to adequately monitor the people that are supposed to be abiding by the law and following rules."

McCaskill cited a case of a man that was sentenced to 25 years in prison for murder and 10 years for armed criminal activity and served 14 years, yet none of the required visits were made to the individual.

"If we're not making the home visits on murderers, what does that say about how well the system is being managed and how safe we truly are as it relates to these offenders in our community," McCaskill said.

The report focused on a random sampling of 60 offenders of the more than 60,000 in Missouri. McCaskill said this narrow sample was used in order to make the investigation manageable, allowing her department to look in depth at each case.

The audit found compliance rates of 73 percent for offender office visits, 45 percent of employer checks, 34 percent of home visits, and 47 percent of treatment contacts.

In the formal audit report, the Missouri Department of Corrections agreed with certain recommendations, yet weren't entirely satisfied with the report, saying "several specific findings (in the report) overstate noted deficiencies".

"We were concerned that they (the Department of Corrections) said they didn't think our statistics were accurate," McCaskill said. "Yet, they didn't offer any data that proved they (the statistics) were inaccurate."

A representative of the Board of Probation and Parole was not available for comment for this story.

When it comes to solutions for the problem at hand, McCaskill said throwing more money at the program is not necessarily the only solution and that there is a need for management in the department to tighten up the requirements of their field officers.

"Historically, [they have] been undermanned, ignored and not been given the tools they need to adequately supervise the population," McCaskill said.