The union representing 9,800 Los Angeles police officers accused California corrections officials of compromising public safety by using computer-based risk assessments to reduce the number of parolees, reports the Los Angeles Times. The Los Angeles Police Protective League expressed “deep concerns” about the Parole Violation Decision Making Instrument (PVDMI), a statistical tool now in use to classify and manage parolees.
Last month, after the governor ordered massive budget cuts, state corrections officials proposed reducing the number of ex-convicts on parole by more than 25 percent and allowing prison inmates to shorten their sentences by completing rehabilitation programs. Parolees monitored by the state would be reduced by more than 30,000 from the current 114,000. Sex offenders, inmates convicted of crimes classified as violent or serious, and others judged to be high-risk would continue to be monitored on parole. Corrections officials tout the computer risk-assessment tool as way to identify parolees with a high risk of violence and who need more attention. They maintain that it helps officials identify lower-risk offenders, who parole agents would spend less time monitoring and who might be eligible for targeted programs rather than being put back behind bars.