published Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Tennessee probation officials monitored dead parolees, audit says

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Tennessee's former Board of Probation and Parole conducted annual arrest checks on at least 82 parolees who had been dead for between six months and more than 19 years, an audit found.

The audit, conducted by Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson's office, revealed two cases in which probation and parole officers entered information indicating the offenders were still alive.

"Inadequate supervision of offenders results in increased public risks and jeopardizes public safety," Wilson said in a statement. "If parole officers are supervising dead people, this is a waste of taxpayer dollars and makes us wonder about the supervision of parolees living in our communities."

In their examination of agency operations, auditors noted that, while the 82 dead parolees are a "small number compared to the over 60,000 offenders monitored each year, the board [and now the Department of Correction] should consider regularly comparing offender information to either state or Social Security Administration death records."

In other findings:

• The audit showed 26 sex offenders tracked by GPS equipment "had not been properly monitored for sex offender treatment," a monthly requirement.

• In some cases, officers failed to complete or document their efforts to complete all of the required face-to-face contacts with parolees. In other cases, officers did not perform required home visits of regular offenders.

The Board of Probation and Parolees was changed substantially on July 1 when a new law took effect, transferring supervision of probationers and parolees to the Department of Correction. The board is now the Board of Parole.

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