Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Problems with Community Corrections? That Hardly Covers it...

We received a private communication from a reader about some incidents in community corrections. We checked them out, and they are troubling. At best, it would seem the right hand of local corrections doesn't know what the left is doing.

Years ago, we worked for an upscale company that gave an elaborate holiday party each year. The year we were stuck with many of the arrangements, we asked the custodian to stay after the party to help clean up--he would have been generously financially reimbursed. Unfortunately, the gentleman told us it would be impossible; he was on probation for a drug crime and had to be home by ten o'clock each night. He also informed us that his probation officer carefully monitored all traffic arrests to determine who was where and when.

Now the above restrictions were for a man who had not been charged with theft or been to prison, but who was given probation. They seem fair to us. What could someone who had been sentenced to nine years in prison for property and drug crimes expect? Apparently a lot less in Lauderdale Community Correction in 2015.

Probably the reader who contacted us knew we have done several blogs on Andrew Daniel Scott over the years. While in community corrections this January, he tested positive for some serious drugs. He was, for whatever reason, not dealt with at that time. Then in March he was stopped for speeding on Hwy. 20 in Lauderdale County. By May, Judge Self allowed Scott to enroll in the Mission of Mercy rehab program--whether as a in-patient or an out-patient, we don't know.

Here's the kicker: Did Scott bother to return to court for his speeding ticket? No. Judge Medley issued a warrant for his arrest, but apparently no one bothered to tell her or other authorities where he was. Scott, or his attorney, did clear up the matter by August, but Hottie Scottie remained in drug rehab until five days later when Judge Self ordered him to community work release. Scott's attorney had requested a return to simple monitoring. Sure, why not? He's such a great risk, right?

The bottom line seems to be that local community corrections can't be trusted to oversee many of the state's prison inmates. We know the system is overcrowded, but which is more palatable? More taxes or thieves, baby-snatchers, and murderers being allowed to roam in your neighborhood at night with no oversight whatsoever?



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