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Your Opinion: Corrections proposal neither feasible nor constitutional

Your Opinion: Corrections proposal neither feasible nor constitutional

July 16th, 2017 by Timothy Lancaster, Jefferson City in Opinion

Dear Editor:

I call into question a few points in Tyler Wornell's July 12 article on the Department of Corrections. Wornell wrote that new Missouri Department of Corrections Director Anne Precythe believes that "all" offenders should be required to be placed on supervision after their release. This is not feasible. Many felons are released from prison after "maxing out" or "12/12." And those who have not maxed out are placed on parole per policy until their sentence runs out. To require that offenders who have completed their sentence to remain on supervision is clearly a violation of their civil rights. It's unconstitutional. So forget that idea.

As noted in the article, a few years back the Missouri Legislature approved legislation that called for an offender who went 30 days without a violation, they got 30 days off their supervision. This was based on two predominant factors:

1: Evidence showed that more intensive levels of supervision actually increased the number of violations for offenders.

2: Another reason the legislature went for the "30/30" program, was that officer caseloads were significantly higher than projections allowed by policy. This new policy decreased the cost to the taxpayer, while having minimal effect on crime rates. It was "evidence based."

Precythe explained that while employed in North Carolina, the prison population in dropped 8 percent by 2015. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation reports that the rate of violent crime rose 7.1 percent in 2015. Precythe brags that during this time the number of folks under supervision rose more than 350 percent. Certainly significant evidence that the North Carolina Policy had minimal impact on violent crime, while drastically increasing the number of people under supervision (cost to taxpayers).

As a retired probation and parole officer, I worked under Directors Lombardi and Crawford. Policies were dictated by evidence based best practices. Six months into her term this is what we get?

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