DOC to undergo 2 audits in Clements murder aftermath
Governor orders in-house review; independent agency also involved
The Colorado Department of Corrections on Thursday revealed it will be the subject of two audits related to oversights connected with the recent murder of state prisons chief Tom Clements.
DOC officials made the announcement during a news conference at its headquarters on Janitell Road in Colorado Springs.
KRDO NewsChannel 13 previously reported that Evan Ebel, a suspect in the murders of Clements and pizza deliveryman Nathan Leon before being killed in a shooutout with Texas authorities, was released from prison four years early after an oversight allowed to him to serve several sentences at the same time instead of separately as prosecutors intended.
One of Ebel's sentences was for assaulting a prison guard.
Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday ordered an internal review of DOC records "to ensure offenders are serving appropriate sentences," according to a statement from the governor's office.
The DOC also requested help from the National Institute of Corrections to review all parole operations.
DOC officials said the audits will involve reviewing thousands of cases that "can't be done in a short period of time," said spokeswoman Alison Morgan. "We will have to figure out how to work with the attorney general's office going back to those sentencing courts."
Tim Hand, the DOC's director of adult parole, community corrections and youthful offender system, said the department is open to what the audits discover and any necessary changes.
"I think we're stepping back," he said. "Let's look at this case, and look into the future about what do we do about certain kinds of information that comes to our attention. Where are the resources that we can apply?"
Hand said Ebel likely cut off his electronic monitor on Thursday, March 14 and stopped checking in daily by phone. However, DOC officials didn't learn until the following Monday that Ebel may have fled. Leon was killed that weekend and Clements was killed on the follwing Tuesday.
Hand said the DOC is investigating procedures of Ebel's parole officer to learn why the department lost track of Ebel. Ebel's monitor transmitted an alert on March 14, Hand said, but monitors often alert for various reasons and the DOC lacks the resources to promptly investigate all but alerts from the most serious offenders.
Hand said sex offenders often receive priority in responding to alerts, and Ebel wasn't a priority because he'd been cooperative and followed reporting guidelines.
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