A legislative audit blames recent “serious crimes” committed by people on probation or parole on high turnover rates and inexperience on one of Utah’s parole boards.
The Utah Department of Correction’s Division of Adult Probation and Parole lacks the staff to adequately supervise and screen sex offenders and offenders with mental illnesses, according to the Legislative Auditor General Office’s new audit.
The office presented its findings to the Legislative Audit Subcommittee on Tuesday, along with two other audits addressing the Board of Pardons and Parole, and cooperation between AP&P and other public safety entities.
Although auditors found that fatal crimes committed by offenders who are supervised by AP&P have not increased in recent years, the division has a problem with staffing and retention — which poses potential public safety concerns — and acknowledged several instances of noncompliance with standards.
This issue is most pronounced among offenders who are registered as sex offenders or have a mental illness, auditors noted.
“Studies show treating all sex offenders with the same high-risk level, as AP&P currently does, wastes resources and may negatively impact offenders,” the report said. “Rather, AP&P should fully implement a sex offender risk assessment tool to determine their level of supervision. Additionally, AP&P should increase screening of mentally ill offenders and place them with specialized agents to improve their supervision outcomes.”