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Politics

Audit Finds Problems with Probation and Parole Monitoring

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/auditfinds_224.mp3

A new state audit shows the state doesn't follow its own policies for monitoring offenders who are on probation and parole. The audit looked at cases from Springfield, St Louis, Kansas City, Moberly, and Cape Girardeau. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

Auditors examined files for 60 of the 66 hundred offenders on probation or parole in Missouri.

State Auditor Claire McCaskill says her office found that parole and probation officers made just 73 percent of the required face-to-face visits with offenders who are back in the community...According to the audit, officers made only 34 percent of mandatory home visits.

The Board of Probation and Parole disputes some of these statistics.

McCaskill stands by the audit and says it appears that those who have been convicted of the most serious crimes are the ones who are least likely to get close supervision.

McCaskill says her office found a case where a serious offender received no home visits by parole and probation personnel.

The Board of Probation and Parole has agreed to adopt the recommendations laid out in the audit.

The chairman of the board, Dana Thompson tells KSMU that the department has begun its own auditing procedures and has a new automated system to track how much contact officers have with offenders.

While the board accepts the recommendations in the audit, Thompson says the success of parole and probation officers isn't based solely on the amount of contact a parole officer has with an offender.

Thompson says he's always in need of additional resources but he doesn't believe more probation and parole officers would have made a difference in the audit findings.

But State Auditor Claire McCaskill says the audit underscores the need for more officers.

McCaskill, a former Jackson County assistant prosecutor says keeping tabs on parolees is key to keeping the public safe.

McCaskill says even though the audit only examined the files of 60 out of 66 hundred offenders, it still reflects systemic problems.

Again, the Board of Probation and Parole has accepted the audit's recommendations.