17's Katey Rusch asked the Parole Department is why they think this is happening.
Last year, the US Supreme Court ordered California to dramatically reduce its prison population. Realignment was implemented to help the State comply with this order without releasing tens of thousands of inmates onto the streets. Realignment established and funds a correctional program in which lower-level offenders remain under the jurisdiction of county government. When serious offenders—including many sex offenders—complete their sentences and must be released, they are monitored on state parole. Those who violate the terms of their parole are now incarcerated in county jails rather than state prison. The State provides all 58 counties with funding for realignment. Each county allocates this funding based on its own law-enforcement, rehabilitation and funding priorities. And each county maintains discretion over whether to accept and retain parole violators in county jails.
If parolees violate, how does that affect their parole? Is there an alternative way?
Parole violations do not always require a return to custody. Sometimes violations are more effectively dealt with through a referral to an alternative sanction in the community that is intended to address the offender’s long-term needs. Examples include substance abuse counseling, anger management, increased drug testing, enhanced conditions of parole, etc. A return to custody is reserved for behavior that rises to the level where public safety would likely be compromised if the offender were to remain in the community, and not all parole violations meet that threshold. In determining how to best address parole violations, the long-term reintegration of offenders through alternative means is often the most responsible approach.
It must be noted that parole agents have several tools and deterrents at their disposal.
- Sex offenders are monitored by parole agents and are tracked by GPS.
- Agents have the ability to search, detain and arrest sex offenders who violate the law or their conditions of parole.
- Agents have been reminded of their responsibility to address sex offender misconduct, including arresting the offender and filing new charges if warranted.
- CDCR and the counties work together to address realignment challenges. Specifically, CDCR participates in sex-offender task forces to better supervise sex offenders, and helps to triage parole-violator jail placements in counties with limited jail space.
- Realignment provides funding for counties. Counties are responsible for deciding how to spend these funds.
- If passed by the voters, Proposition 30 will provide permanent, constitutionally-protected funding for realignment.
How many parolees are there in Kern County? How many wear ankle bracelets?
- -As of June 2012, there were a total of 70,760 parolees statewide. Of those, 10,295 were required to register as sex offenders and thus required to wear a GPS monitor.
- -In Kern County there are a total of 2,520 parolees who were convicted of crimes of all types. Of them, 303 (as of October 16) are required to register as sex offenders and wear GPS monitors.
How many registrants have been violated and/or returned to state custody since AB 109 was implemented?
Statewide from October 1, 2011 to date, 481 sex offenders have been arrested 862 times (i.e. some were arrested multiple times) where the arrest did not result in a revocation by the Board of Parole Hearings. In addition (i.e. above and beyond the 481), 4,086 sex offenders were arrested and returned to custody (their parole revoked) either once or multiple times.
Why do parolees violate their parole?
The majority of state parolees are former inmates who have served their determinate time in state prison and CDCR no longer has any authority to hold them in prison for their original offense. As you know, judges set the sentences and CDCR must comply with the orders of the court. Parole violations occur for a great variety of reasons. When someone is released from prison, individual conditions are set on each prisoner in an effort to keep them from returning to the conditions they lived in when they committed their crime in the first place. That’s why, in general, sex-offenders are not allowed to be in the presence of people who are similar to the persons they victimized, nor are they allowed to be in the environment in which the crime occurred. By their very nature, the conditions of parole –while necessary to help prevent the offender from committing another crime- are often unpopular with the parolee. Violating the conditions of parole is the most common reason that a parolee’s conditional liberty is revoked.
Why do parolees cut their GPS bracelet?
GPS monitors help CDCR keep track of where a sex-offender parolee goes. The electronic monitoring of a parolee’s whereabouts through the GPS device often deters them from going into places where they may be prone to commit another offense. California is the largest user of GPS devices to monitor sex-offenders in the country. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Justice found that sex-offenders are three times more likely to receive a violation if they break the conditions of their parole and twice as likely to get arrested if they commit another sex offense, than parolees elsewhere who are not monitored by GPS. But it must be noted that only incarceration can for sure keep a person from committing a crime in the community. GPS monitoring was never promoted as a fail-safe way to block a person from committing a crime.
Here's a link to the press release by the DOJ. It includes a link to the full report: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/2012/ojppr051012.pdf
What's the punishment ?
The great majority of sex offenders who commit serious violations of parole are arrested and returned to custody. Since the start of Realignment, these offenders are returned to county jail and/or an alternative custody sanction under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff when they violate parole. In a handful of California’s 58 counties, there have been isolated cases of some offenders who were not incarcerated because the Sheriffs were not accepting technical violations at certain times. It’s important to note that currently that is not the case in Kern County.
Does AB 109 let these offender out prior to the completion of their sentence?
It’s important to understand that prisons are run by the state and jails are managed by the counties. No state prisoners have been released from a state prison before completing their sentence. as defined by law. As for sex-offender parolees who violate conditions of their parole and are sent to county jails, when CDCR learned that not all sex offenders were being jailed for parole violations in a handful of counties, CDCR supervisors reached out to these counties to discuss concerns and find solutions. CDCR believes that the state and counties have found a working resolution to this issue and CDCR is committed to continue collaborating with the counties. However, ultimately, the decision whether to place an offender in jail rests with county personnel.
What is the cost to replace a bracelet if it is cut or lost?
It costs $8.51 per day to monitor a California Parolee through the GPS system. The straps are supplied by the vendors for a nominal fee.