District parole stats better

A decrease in the amount of parole revocations in the Second Judicial District has officials looking at ways they can keep the trend going.

Second Judicial District statistics show the number of parole revocations in January 2013 was 18.5 percent, which is a decrease from the same period last year. Revocations were reported to be at 21 percent last year.

Officials define a revocation as a person who has been sent back to prison.

Robin Allbee, supervisor of the Webster County probation and parole office, attributed the decrease to several factors.

“We have certainly increased our communication with many different services available,” Allbee said. “We do more risk-based training with our officers and are supervising clients at their correct level of risk.”

Communication includes working closely with agencies such as Community and Family Resources and various mental health organizations.

“All in all, I think that all of us as agencies are working smarter together,” Allbee said. “We’re trying not to be redundant and work together for the offender to be more successful.”

Dot Faust, the Second Judicial District director of probation and parole, attributed the decrease to the better education given to parolees while they’re still in prison.

“We’re spending more time paying attention to support systems and release plans,” Faust said. “Do they have a safe place to live? Do they have employment lined up? We’re realizing that to make it people need support in the community, and we can at least make sure the person knows how to get to those community resources.”

Faust said the numbers in the district also reflect a pattern that’s being seen statewide.

In April 2012 for instance, the statewide parole revocation rate for parolees was 20.7 percent. In January 2013, it was 17.7 percent.

Allbee said that not everyone who is accused of violating parole will be sent back to prison.

“There’s so many varying degrees of what could happen for someone to be charged with a violation,” she said. “It’s usually a culmination of many different things that would send an offender back to prison.”

For example, an offender could be sent back to prison if they were charged with a serious crime, she said.

“If it’s less than an aggravated misdemeanor, we have more flexibility with what we can do,” Allbee said.

That may include increased supervision.

Allbee said the Iowa Department of Corrections hopes to continue seeing a decrease in the number of offenders going back to prison on parole violations.

“We continue to work on better ways and processes to make sure they have what they need,” she said. “When they come here, we can work better with all the services that are available.”