The Department of Corrections parole division will undergo an immediate change in procedure that will allow more officers to go after parolees that are not following the rules.
On Thursday, Division of Adult Parole leaders announced they have support from the Joint Budget Committee and the governor's office to implement a new plan. It would allow officers to go after parole violators more quickly and devote more resources to the problem of parole absconders.
"With consistent dedicated resources in this area, we can reduce the overall percentage of parole absconders. This is a sound public safety initiative for Colorado. We appreciate the support of the Joint Budget Committee and the state Legislature," said Tim Hand, director of the Division of Adult Parole.
All this comes in the wake of the Evan Ebel saga. Ebel, who was under intense supervised parole, cut off his ankle monitor several days before the murders of Nate Leon and Tom Clements.
Parole leaders said the new policy would require parole officers to check with tampered ankle-monitor bracelets within two hours of that violation being reported. There will also be monthly roundups of violators.
Neither move is expected to cost taxpayers any money. No additional officers are expected to be hired but the redistribution of appropriated funds did require approval from state lawmakers in charge of the budget. The budget adjustment includes $273,317 for absconder roundups and $222,070 for enhanced tamper alert responses. That comes to a total of $495,387 each year to implement the new policy. The Joint Budget Committee approved the plan through the next fiscal year.
The Department of Corrections said on average 136 parolees disable their ankle monitors every month. Thirty one of those offenders are under closer watch in the intensive supervision program. DOC leaders estimate right now they only catch about 7.2 percent of these kind of offenders without help from law enforcement. Since 2011, the DOC estimates they've had 3,252 absconders from the parole system.