Dallas County probation officials, under fire for losing track of thousands of probationers, say they want to expand the use of automated kiosks as a solution for large caseloads. The officials told the Dallas Morning News that the kiosks, check-in sites that look like ATM machines, are now used only for offenders who pose the lowest risk to society. One official said very few DWI convicts would be allowed to use the machines.
But after an open-records dispute, the Morning News learned that of the nearly half of the 900 people who have reported to the machine since its inception last year were on probation for driving while intoxicated. Twenty had been convicted of drunken driving at least three times, making them felons. About half of the 900 were on probation for other felonies, including drug dealing, burglary, engaging in organized crime and, in a few cases, robbery. One had attacked two police officers and tried to seize their guns. Under the probation department’s written policy, people who have assaulted public servants aren’t supposed to report to the machine.