Wonder why they are so high?

I was checking out crime figures while back and discovered that a couple of years ago, the highest crime category among people in prison was drug related. However, for the last two years, the largest number of people in prison are there for parole/probation violations. Not a new crime mind you, but for failing to pay fees or conform to the many rules and regulations overseen by the probation department.

We know that a large part of the reason why recidivism rates are over 65% and constantly rising is that prisons no longer spend a lot of time or money on rehabilitation and education. In Florida, as in many states, jobs for prisoners are few and far apart, which leaves an inmate sitting in his cell with nothing but time on his hands. Another reason for so many people being returned to prison is the lack of support when they emerge, shell-shocked and unable to make decisions since prisons don't allow them to practice decision making. No one wants to give them jobs or housing or education because they used to be in prison. Without support and with the extra handicap of a prison sentence behind them that they must tell everyone about, of course many of them fail.

But another big reason I'm finding for the released person's failure is the parole/probation system. Often the officers who are now in charge of their lives have attitudes that are no better than the worst of the staff back at the prison. They hate the ex-offender, they seem to prove their usefulness by the numbers of people they 'have' to send back to prison. They actually appear to prefer returning released people to their former state of suspended animation, sitting in a cell with nothing but more time on their hands.  I've seen people returned because their car broke down on the way to work so they weren't where they were supposed to be; one man went back for five years because when he finally found a house to rent it turned out it was just over the county line; another man has been given a total of 20 years on $40 robbery because he was on probation when his daughter died, but in his grief he went out in the driveway and sat in his truck and drank a beer. The following story is another example of the probation caused revolving door that is costing ex-offenders their freedom and taxpayers millions a year.  Kay Lee

My name is Diane J.... And my story is long. I will try to make this as short and to the point as I possibly can.

I was arrested in 2001 for a felony battery against my then boyfriend of 4 years. He was trying to physically attack me and in the process I lifted my hands and held in one of them a beer bottle, his, which I cracked on his chin. I was arrested and placed on probation. I then violated after completing 14 out of the 18 month sentence with a new charge of petit theft. While shopping with a  ...for lack of a better word..... "friend", who asked me to carry a diaper bag out of a local department store. Unbeknownst to me it was filled with undergarments and hair accessories.

I was then placed on Community Control. I violated that when I admitted to my probation officer I left my home at 6 am instead of 9 am as scheduled to purchase some children's Tylenol for my 5 yr. old son who had an abscessed molar.

Then my third violation was for leaving my residence at an unapproved time again. This one I could prove I was where I was supposed to be and home by the time I was supposed to be as well.

I was in court this past week June 2, 2005 and the Judge told the courtroom that, "No-one sees this as much of a violation" ....because my probation officer contradicted herself in the sworn statement to the courts. It was all there in black and white.. in her own words.... and she called me a manipulator and a liar.

Just two nights after being re-instated to my house arrest or CCll... I have violated again. This time for sitting in a limousine in my driveway on my own property. With the transmitter that I wear around my ankle you are not supposed to go out of range of the monitor that sits in my kitchen it ranges from 150-200 feet I believe.

For some reason I have yet to get proof of something inside of the limo cause an interruption in the signal notifying the DOC that I had left my residence for one half hour from 1am to 1:30 am on Saturday night.
This Sunday upon returning home from church ...I received a phone call from a probation officer who told me there was an alert and asked me where I went.

I informed her that I had a friend who owns a limo company come to visit and without giving it a single thought I sat in the back and had a cup of coffee in my driveway. There were neighbors and people who witnessed it there.....and also were witness to the fact that it never left the driveway.

I then called my probation officer to ask her if she would come to my home and I would recreate the exact events of what I did that night and she would see that the monitors signal was interfered with by getting into the limo and closing the door. She told me No.

So, on Sunday night...I got in and did it prove to her it would go off and it did.

I contacted my atty. and told him I wanted to do this one more time to show proof of what happens when I get in and so I got a large wall clock a daily newspaper and a digital camera .... we took pictures of me outside the car inside the car and then back out again.... the monitor went off .....  as I was sure it would ...I left my officer a message on her voicemail  telling her I was getting in and I was getting out.

I am not sure if the Judge will see fit to sign this ridiculous warrant but if he does I am facing 18 months in prison and stand to lose custody of my children who are just 6 and 7 years old.

These past 4 years have been a nightmare ... from fines to classes to court hearings to schedules .... it is very hard to cope. I believe the only thing that has brought me this far is my faith.  And that's how I am sure this will all work out too.

Thank you for letting me vent.....
Diane J.
Holiday Florida

What a terrible story.  I'd like to add an update when you find out what the judge is going to do.  You were pretty thorough and if they ignore the evidence, then what I suspect is true... Probation/parole is just a trap to get you back in their clutches.  Recidivism rates are higher than they've ever been and although a lot of it is lack of rehabilitation and education in prison, much of it is for foolishness such as you just described.  I sincerely wish you the best.
Kay Lee

Just a little addition to the story I was arrested on Friday at 4:45 .......just in time so I couldnt call my atty for help.....went to the advisory hearings and got a sympathetic judge who granted me a bond.......I am home and now awaiting my 4th vop hearing which will be scheduled for sometime in July ...I'll keep in touch.....

You certainly have my permission to do with what you like with my story....It is a nightmare and I can't tell you how much I wish it were over. I'm praying things will work out and I am thankful there are people out there who understand what I'm going through......
Take care....
Diane J.

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