In Philly, Breaking Parole Doesn’t Mean Going Back to Prison

Via Ronnie Polaneczky, we get the testimony of John Bruhns, a former Philadelphia parole officer who really wanted to send people back to prison for violating their parole—and almost never got to. His story’s a bit chilling. An excerpt:

In order to obtain a warrant to detain a parolee for technical violations, a parole agent must first receive authorization from his/her supervisor. For my first two years working with the agency, it was quite difficult for me to convince my supervisor to authorize warrants for offenders who violated their parole. In fact, my supervisor would often allow parole violators under my supervision to consistently violate conditions of their parole with little or no ramifications.

My uneducated guess is that my former supervisor had an alternate agenda that precluded him from doing sound parole work. In my opinion, he let his personal feelings obstruct public safety.

One case that comes to mind is that of a parolee who submitted approximately 5-7 urine samples that proved to be positive for opiates. The same parolee was completely insusceptible to drug treatment. Despite my requests to detain the parolee on parole violations, my supervisor refused to place the offender back in prison.

Eventually, after my repeated protests about the parolee’s repeated technical violations, my supervisor transferred the parolee to another agent. That parolee continued to violate parole under that agent’s supervision without being sent back to prison. The other agent and I both had the same supervisor.

And that’s one of the less-egregious stories that Bruhns has to offer. You’d think, for example, that officials would keep a tight leash on convicted child rapists out on parole. Turns out they don’t. Read the whole thing.