High Caseloads Give AL Parole Officers 10 Minutes Per Month With Offenders


The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles has applied Band-Aids to ensure oversight of 67,410 former inmates, reports the Birmingham News. Officers carrying an average caseload of 193 can spend less than 10 minutes per month with each offender. Drug testing, counseling, employment assistance, and other services sometimes can't be delivered. And if probationers don't check in, there's little time to hunt them down.

Pardons and Paroles had 403 supervising officers in February 2007; now there are 350. Many officers, especially those in rural parts of the state, are left to supervise nearly 300 former inmates. Cynthia Dillard, the parole board’s executive director, said national recommendations call for officers to average seeing 60 to 75 people. As the number of officers falls, judges are placing fewer offenders on probation, opting for split jail sentences and community corrections. That's because the judges can see probation officers are overloaded, said Eddie Cook, assistant director of the agency. “Last year, or the year before, we were actually bleeding. But right now, we have Band-Aids on.” Still, the number of repeat offenders in Alabama remains low, at 17 percent, while the national average is 37 percent.

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