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Rule shift benefits parolees

Early parole has become an option for some county jail inmates.
Sunday, January 30, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:23 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Joey Eads is not used to getting second chances, so when given the opportunity to participate in a new early parole program, he jumped at the opportunity.

Eads is one of six Boone County residents to participate in the program, which was approved in October and initiated in November. In addition, 14 more applications have been submitted for review, said Capt. Warren Brewer, detention director for the Boone County Jail.

The program allows early parole for county residents committed to the jail for sentences longer than 60 days.

For Eads, the program 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 to $35 per day to house one inmate. 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. Until recently, though, Missouri court rules restricted this type of authority from the court. He sees this system as mutually beneficial 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.

Some inmates chose not to participate for a variety of reasons. Some members completed a majority of their sentence before the program’s implementation and thought their probation would be longer than their sentence. Others chose not to participate because they didn’t think they could maintain their probation terms or didn’t want to put forth the energy to complete the requirements.

Nonetheless, the new system is an 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 who are committed to the jail strictly for misdemeanor, nonviolent crimes.


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