Colorado parole officers committed fundamental supervision errors in more than 60 percent of the cases they handled, a review of more than 2,000 audits shows, the Denver Post reports. The audits, conducted over the past three years, show that failures in parole supervision occur regularly. The extent of the problems may be even greater because the audits include cases that parole officers select to showcase what they believe is their best work. Parole officials released the audits to the Post in response to a Colorado Open Records Act Request.
The audits provide the most comprehensive public look to date at the performance of Colorado’s parole system since corrections chief Tom Clements was gunned down at his home in March, allegedly by a parolee who had removed his ankle bracelet five days earlier. Auditors found that parole officers failed to respond appropriately to parole violations about 30 percent of the time; complete a behavioral and supervision plan in nearly 22 percent of cases; adhere to contact standards, including required visits to parolees’ homes, nearly 32 percent of the time, and conduct risk assessments to identify parolee weaknesses or hold initial office visits with parolees nearly 20 percent of the time. Edward Latessa, director of the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati, said such a high failure rate in the standards is disturbing.