New parole system offers early release

Thursday, January 27, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 5:54 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 5, 2008

Joey Eads is not used to getting second chances, so when given the opportunity to participate in a new judicial pa-role program, he jumped at the chance.

Eads is one of six Boone County residents to participate in a new judicial parole system that was approved in Octo-ber and initiated in November 2004. It allows early parole for Boone County residents committed to the Boone County Jail for sentences longer than 60 days. In addition to the six inmates taking part, 14 more applications have been submitted for review, said Capt. Warren Brewer, detention director for the Boone County Jail.

For Eads, it is a way for to him maintain a steady job and meet his parole requirements. He received a one-year sentence for passing bad checks. After serving six months in the Boone County Jail, he became eligible for the new program. He was released Nov. 9, 2004 and is scheduled to be on probation until Nov. 9, 2006.

Eads said he has been on parole before but found it difficult to work full time and to make several weekly meetings required by probation.

“It’s a lot better than the other probations that I’ve been on,” Eads said. “My other probations seemed like they’re trying to get you to mess up to send you back. This program is not like that.”

The program allows early release from the jail in exchange for a parole sentence determined by Boone County Adult Court Services. It is mutually beneficial to the jail and inmates, because it keeps down the jail population and saves taxpayer money.

Kathy Lloyd of the Court Administrator’s office estimates it costs $30-35 to house one inmate each day. With six inmates already participating in the program, Boone County saves anywhere from $180 to $210 daily.

Brewer asked for a similar program several times. However, until recently, Missouri court rules restricted this type of authority from the court. He sees this system as a mutual benefit for the community and the inmate.

“It is a very positive manner in which to assess accountability to an individual who’s been convicted of a crime and save taxpayer money,” Brewer said.

The program is completely voluntary, and inmates are automatically reviewed for participation in the program once they complete half of their sentence. However, some inmates chose not to participate for a variety of reasons. Some members completed a majority of their sentence prior to the program implementation and felt their probation would be longer than their sentence. Others chose not to participate because they didn’t feel like they could maintain their probation terms or did not want to put forth the energy to complete the requirements.

Nonetheless, the new system is a new alternative for inmates.

“There’s a lot of talk within the facility about it,” Brewer said. “After a while, this becomes a mundane place and they don’t want to be here.”

The program is for inmates that are strictly committed to the jail for misdemeanor, nonviolent crimes. To be eligi-ble, an inmate must have a sentence of 60 days or more and must serve half of his or her sentence before being considered. The candidate cannot have any other charges pending or outstanding warrants, must be a resident of Boone County and cannot be a persistent sexual offender or predator, drug offender. He or she cannot be convicted of any crime that would disqualify him or her from probation or parole under state statute.

After an inmate has been approved for parole, he or she is under the supervision of Boone County Adult Court Ser-vices until the end of their probation.

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