Topic:
PAROLE; PRISONS AND PRISONERS;
Location:
PAROLE;

OLR Research Report


March 14, 2008

 

2008-R-0135

PAROLE -TECHNICAL VIOLATIONS

By: George Coppolo, Chief Attorney

You asked for information about the reasons for technical violations of parole that result in a parolee being put back in prison.

SUMMARY

According to Jerry Stowal, who conducts research for the Department of Correction's Parole and Supervision Division, and for the Board of Pardons and Paroles, in FY 2007, there were 748 parolees who were put back into prison for a technical violation. Of these, 307 were for substance abuse violations, 90 were for a failure to report as required by a condition of parole, and 37 were for a violation of an electronic monitoring requirement. In addition, there were 314 in a category called “other.” According to Stowall, these “other” reasons are not separately coded and thus cannot be broken down by specific category. This category includes violating any other parole condition, including making contact with a crime victim or witness when directed not to do so.

Stowal pointed out that the technical violation reasons cited are typically the latest in a series of what might be a variety of prohibited behaviors by the offender. Generally, according to Stowal, the only time the parolee is violated for an initial infraction is if there is a stipulation by the Board of Pardons and Paroles to return a parolee to custody at the first sign of any problem.

He also noted that offenders in the special management unit (sex offenders) are also more likely to be returned at the first sign of prohibited behavior.

TECHNICAL PAROLE VIOLATIONS

Although we did not specifically ask for this, Stowal examined the number of technical violations for persons on parole for FY 2007 and the eight months after that time (July 2007- February 2008). He indicated that he wanted to establish a baseline for the average number of technical violations per month before the Cheshire crime. He found that the number of technical violations increased sharply during August through October 2007, but returned to levels slightly below those of FY 2007, if those three months are discounted. He believes that part of the reason for the lower level is that there were fewer people on parole than before the Cheshire crime.

According to Stowal, the guiding principles in all decisions to remand an offender on a technical violation are concern for public safety and system integrity, as well as the offender's needs.

The following tables, based on information Stowal provided, show the breakdown, total number, and monthly average number of technical parole violations for three time periods:

1. FY 2007;

2. July 2007 through February 2008; and

3. July 2007 plus November 2007 through February 2008 (excluding three months following Cheshire crime).

Table 1: Technical Parole Violations Resulting in Imprisonment FY 2007

Reasons

Number of Cases

% of Cases

Substance Abuse

307

41.0 %

Failure to Report

90

12.0%

Electronic Monitoring Violations

37

4.9%

Other

314

42.0%

Total

748

 

Monthly average

62

 

Table 2: Technical Violations July 2007 – February 2008 Resulting in Imprisonment

Reasons

Number of Cases

% of Cases

Substance Abuse

251

41.0%

Failure to Report

73

11.9%

Electronic Monitoring Violations

31

5.1%

Other

257

42.0%

Total

612

 

Monthly Average

76

 

Table 3: Technical Violations July 2007 plus November 2007 through February 2008 Resulting in Imprisonment

Reasons

Number of Cases

% of Cases

Substance Abuse

103

41.0%

Failure to Report

30

12.0%

Electronic Monitoring Violations

13

5.2%

Other

105

41.8%

Total

251

 

Monthly Average

50

 

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