Nearly 5,000 California parolees – including hundreds of sex offenders and people convicted of violent felonies – have been released from supervision without proper review, says a new state audit reported by the Associated Press. When ex-cons are approaching the end of their parole terms, the California corrections department must file a discharge report. Those reports can recommend that a violent parolee remain under supervision. The audit said that 775 ex-cons who had committed violent or sexual offenses were automatically released from parole without completed discharge reports.
Over the last year, the corrections department has begun implementing changes to its parole program. Among them is an emphasis on drug, alcohol, and other treatment programs that includes providing access even after convicts are released from parole. The changes are required under a multibillion dollar prison and jail construction project approved last year by lawmakers and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. A corrections spokesman said the reforms are working to lower the number of ex-cons sent back to prison.