The public is being endangered by secret policies that allow parolees to remain on the streets even when they commit new crimes, parole officers from across the state told New York legislators yesterday, according to the Albany Times Union. People have been raped, robbed, and murdered by parolees who should have been locked up because parole officers have too much paperwork, are restricted in the number of arrests they can make, and spend less than 50 percent of their time on the streets keeping tabs on parolees, officers testified.
The hearing, which drew close to 300 people, reflects the findings in a Times Union series in July. The Times Union reported parole officers saying they are being guided by a secret warrant quota system that limits the number of parolees they can take off the streets, even when they have been accused of crimes such as drug dealing and assault. Division of Parole officials deny there is a quota system and said data support their position that more parolees are being locked up. Anthony G. Ellis II, the agency’s executive director, did not attend the hearing. The agency issued a statement calling the parole officers’ assertions “baseless union allegations” that have followed attempts by Ellis to make the division more accountable. Parole officer Jim Jones told the hearing caseloads are so high on some days that officers spend only minutes with dozens of parolees who must be drug tested and queried to determine whether they are following rules.