Protection of the public and the successful reintegration of the offender back into the community are the hallmarks of parole supervision. Parole officers, working under the guidance of the Parole Board and agency managers, are the heart and soul of parole supervision. Their goal is to carefully transition the offender back into the community and to quickly reincarcerate those offenders who fail to follow the conditions of parole.
During FY 2014, the parolee population increased from 25,020 (FY13) to 25,195 (all parolees supervised in Georgia) under supervision. Performance measures associated with supervision of these cases reveal that 72% of parolees successfully completed their period of parole supervision according to the methodology of the Bureau of Justice statistics. This compares very favorably to the 59% estimated national average of parolees who successfully complete parole supervision. The cost of parole supervision in FY 2014 was $4.03 per parolee, compared to the estimated cost of $53 per inmate per day to incarcerate an offender with the Department of Corrections.
Attracting and retaining highly qualified parole officers has become a significant challenge for the agency. Parole officers spend eight weeks in training, studying defensive tactics, constitutional law, supervision techniques, victims’ rights and other subjects. Officers are also required to qualify with a semi-automatic weapon, a skill they maintain through semi-annual re-qualifications. Graduates of the rigorous training are certified by the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council to serve as Georgia Peace Officers sworn to protect and serve the public.
The agency is leveraging new technology and evidence based practices to enhance offender supervision. The resilience and dedication of the Parole Officers has enabled the Field Division to achieve the state's parole completion rate of 74% and to make 247,358 contacts with parolees as part of the surveillance component of parole supervision. During the fiscal year, more than $1.2 million in supervision fees were collected.
As a leader among paroling authorities nationwide, the Parole Board has adopted an internal philosophy of visibility and transparency in measuring success under parole supervision. Supplemented by the electronic case management system and groundbreaking methods of analyzing and reviewing performance outputs on a real-time basis, the Board has implemented management practices which serve to reinforce the casual linkage between effective supervision strategies and parole success with statewide rankings, charts and rolling summaries of performance at all levels of the Field Division.