MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - It's another example of government workers not doing their jobs. A state investigation found Tennessee probation and parole officers who were supposed to be keeping tabs on convicted criminals were doing anything but. Truth is sometimes probation officers claimed to have face to face meetings with the offenders, when in reality the criminal had been dead for almost two decades.
In Shelby County, judges put tens of thousands of criminals on probation every year. Others are let out of prison and are supposed to report to parole officers. Truth is there are big questions about whether the system that is supposed to protect the public is working.
Memphis lawyer Joe Barton wasn't fazed when he learned the results of this state audit.
Barton recently had a situation involving Uvati Brooks, a convicted armed robber on probation. Barton says he caught Brooks with stolen goods, not living where he was supposed to. His probation officer didn't seem to care.
"I'm completely unsurprised. There is no supervision; the probation officers are completely indifferent," he said. "They are sucking down public money, getting a good government job and doing no work for it."
The state report found inadequate supervision of offenders resulted in increased public risk and jeopardized public safety.
Not only are officers not doing their jobs, neither are the supervisors. Officers claimed to be supervising more than 80 criminals, who in reality had been dead for anywhere from 6 months to 19 years.
"We think this is obviously a waste of taxpayer resources because they could have been using that time monitoring offenders who are still living and in the community," stated Deborah Loveless, Assistant Director of Tennessee's Audit Department.
The report also found violent criminals and sex offenders who were supposed to be tracked by GPS equipment weren't being properly monitored 80 percent of the time.
Loveless noted, "They're the highest at risk to re offend which is why parents should be concerned that those monitored by GPS are not being monitored appropriately."
The investigation found big flaws in the system, and truth is, "If offenders who have been released back into the community aren't being actively monitored there could be a risk," said Loveless. "That's why we have laws that require supervision to make sure they don't re offend."
We wanted to hear what the Probation and Parole Board thinks about this but for now, no one's commenting. There is a hearing in Nashville later this week where they'll have some explaining to do.