Questions Raised About State's Prison and Parole Operations

We’re digging deeper to learn more about how our state’s parole system operates. Questions were raised about the system after it was discovered that Evan Ebel skipped out on his parole for days.

DOC officials tell us there are 111, 211 gang members on parole right now, but won’t go into detail on if they track them differently than other parolees.

But we have learned how they tracked Evan Ebel, and others on parole.

Ebel’s bracelet stopped working five days before the murder and it wasn’t until the day before Clement’s murder parole officers discovered Ebel had left his home.

The state is now reviewing their system and how they keep tabs on offenders who are on parole.

Those on an intensive supervised parole most often have some type of ankle monitor.

Sex offenders are typically on a G-P-S, tracking their every move.

Others, like Ebel, wear a device that alerts parole officers when they leave home or don’t get home in time for curfew.

When something goes wrong, an alert is sent out, that can mean the offender is messing with the device or in some cases just bumped it on something.

One issue right now, parole officers don’t have to contact those offenders within a certain amount of time after the alert goes off.

"We look at the training that we receive, and the compliance, any of the victim issues would certainly alert us to be more responsive in some cases than in others. There's just an array of things that we look at in each and every case,” said Tim Hand, Director of Adult Parole, Community Corrections and Youthful Offender System.

When asked if this is a flaw in the system, Hand tells us it is and they are working to fix these issues.

Evan Ebel's bracelet stopped working five days before the murder. But officers didn't respond until four days later. They say that's because Ebel had been an ideal parolee since released in late January.

Hand says there were no signs that Ebel would not comply with his parole, calling him an ideal parolee. Hand says Ebel was taking part in treatment, never missed a phone call check-in, had a job and a residence. He did nothing wrong since he was released on parole in late January.

"If individuals are gonna be difficult on parole, they typically will Show that within the first 30 to 60 days that's a period when we're very much on high alert,” said Director Hand.

We've learned 57 offenders in Colorado have the same monitoring device as Ebel. In march alone there were 219 tampering alerts from that group.

The work of parole officers is coming under scrutiny for what happened when Evan Ebel escaped his parole and killed the head of our state’s prison system, Tom Clements.

The DOC is looking into the parole officer in charge of Evan Ebel’s case. They are reviewing his current cases. But officials tell us they don’t have any reason to believe he’s done anything wrong.

We've learned today the DOC uses several parole programs and ankle monitoring devices to keep track of parolees.

-97% of all their prison inmates at some time will be out on parole
- They say about 14,000 offenders on parole are under their supervision at any time.
- About 212 parole officers are in charge of those offenders.
-They meet face to face with offenders about 16 thousand times each month.

If an offender messes with their ankle monitor or simply bumps it, a tamper alert is sent out.