To alleviate crushing caseloads that have hurt the agency's ability to supervise criminals, the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole has shifted nearly 3,500 felons to the telephone supervision system, reports The Tennessean. The agency says the system is designed for offenders deemed a low risk and who have consistently met their obligations. Nine percent of the offenders on this phone-in system in Davidson County — 42 out of 479 offenders — are murderers. An additional five offenders were convicted of attempted murder, and 51 were convicted of robbery.
Agency spokeswoman Melissa McDonald said offenders are eligible for the system if they have been determined by parole officers to be a minimum risk, have a good history of paying fees, and following the terms of their probation and have no felony arrests within the prior year. The newspaper described one man who was put on telephone supervision even though he was convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of a man in a grocery parking lot, beating an ex-girlfriend, and possessing cocaine. And, when released on parole, he was arrested at least six times in his first 2½ years of supervision.