(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that he has ordered an in-depth examination of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s (ODRC) policies and practices as they relate to post-release control supervision by the Ohio Adult Parole Authority (APA).
The APA, which is a division of ODRC, is responsible for the post-release control supervision of more than 20,500 adult felony inmates who have been released back into society after serving their full prison sentences.
“I have serious concerns that some post-release control policies aren’t strong enough to adequately monitor offender reentry and also protect the public,” said Governor DeWine. “It’s time that Ohio takes a good look at improving the post-release control process to help offenders positively transition back into society and to swiftly hold them accountable if they commit a violation of their supervision.”
Today, Governor DeWine signed an executive order creating the Governor’s Working Group on Post-Release Control to review and recommend improvements to the APA’s post-release control supervision practices in Ohio. Members of the working group include:
- Annette Chambers-Smith, ODRC director, co-chair
- Dr. Reginald Wilkenson, former ODRC director, co-chair
- Stuart Hudson, ODRC assistant director and former parole officer
- Dr. Edward Latessa, University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice
- Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township)
- Prosecutor Kevin Talebi, Champaign County
- Elizabeth Poprocki, Ohio Victim Witness Association
- Molly Gauntner, Ohio Chief Probation Officer’s Association
- Sara Andrews, Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission
The formation of the working group follows Governor DeWine’s previous directive that ODRC conduct an internal investigation into the APA supervision of Raymond Walters. The Dayton man was arrested in August after allegedly stabbing a family member, stealing a police cruiser, and then crashing it into another vehicle, killing two 6-year-old girls and injuring others. ODRC concluded that the supervision of Walters was “appropriate and in accordance with pertinent supervision policies and administrative rules.”
“The sole person responsible for this tragedy is the person who allegedly caused the crash,” said Governor DeWine. “Although the internal review found that the APA officer followed policy in the supervision of Raymond Walters, I have the responsibility to question whether or not the current policies are the right policies, and I’m confident that members of my new working group will make actionable recommendations to improve the post-release control process.”
Governor DeWine has asked working group members to look at all APA post-release control policies, including policies related to the documentation of interactions with individuals on post-release control; the amount of time APA officers have to sanction an offender after a violation; the amount of discretion APA officers have to react to violence or concerns about mental health and substance use; and sanctions for failing to appear for a drug test.
In addition to examining APA policies, Governor DeWine has also asked the advisory group to:
- Survey the current use of GPS technology in parole and post-release control cases and recommend a state policy to address which offenders are placed on GPS monitoring, the length of monitoring, and the responses to violations;
- Review current APA caseload sizes and recommend any needed changes;
- Examine the Ohio Risk Assessment System and determine if it is the best-available risk assessment tool;
- Study “truth in sentencing” and its impact on the prison system and post prison supervision;
- Evaluate the effectiveness of halfway houses in supporting reentry and reducing recidivism.
ODRC’s internal investigation into the post-release control supervision of Raymond Walters can be found at www.governor.ohio.gov.