How many of you out there, no matter what your assignment, contact State Prison Parolees almost everyday ? Well seeing as California has the largest Prison system in the free world, I would say a great deal of you contact at least one every couple of days. Whether your job is dope dealers, Patrol, Investigations or some other greatly unappreciated role in Law Enforcement, your need to know how to deal with the parolee is important. The first thing to understand is that you are in charge of the contact. Your the one running the show , you call the shots. Unfortunately that's not how it usually goes. Most COPS don't understand where their power is over the convict. The officers power lies in his knowledge of the process that controls the convict and that process is Parole. Parole is that period between the inmates release from the institution and the end of his obligation to the state. This period is supervised to one extent or another.
First of all establish a close working relationship with your local Parole Agent. They are the most important resource you can have. Second and again, know the process that controls him. So to understand how you can deal with convicts lets talk about " Conditions Of Parole ". Conditions of parole restrict his activity and are meant to help him complete a successful parole term.
There are two types. Standard Conditions and Special Conditions. Lets first talk about Standard Conditions. Everyone who comes out of State Prison on parole has Standard Conditions and they are the same for everyone. Before we talk about them remember one thing about these conditions. A parolee can violate parole , 3056 PC , without committing a crime. Its great to get a fresh beef , but a crime does not have to be committed. Actions or activity by a parolee that are not violations of the law can be a violation of their parole conditions and can enable you to arrest them. Here are the standard conditions of parole that the convict agrees to prior to being released
* You waive extradition to the State of California from any State or territory of the U.S.or the district of Columbia.
* When the Board of Prison Terms feels you pose a danger to yourself or others, based on psychiatric reasons, they may order your placement in a community treatment facility or revoke your parole and return you to Prison.
* You and your residence and any property under your control may be searched without a warrant by an agent of the California Department of Corrections or any Law Enforcement Officer.
* If another jurisdiction has lodged a detainer against you, you may be released to the custody of that jurisdiction.
* Unless other arrangements are approved in writing, you will report to your Parole Agent on the first working day following your release.
* Any change of residence shall be reported to your Parole Agent in advance.
* You will inform your Parole Agent within 72 hours of any change of employment location, employer or termination of employment.
* You will comply with all instructions of your Parole Agent.
* You will not travel more than 50 miles from your residence without your Parole Agents permission.
* You will not be absent from your county of residence commitment for more than 48 hours and not leave the State of California without written approval of your Parole Agent.
* You will not leave the state of California without prior written approval of your Parole Agent
*You shall not engage in conduct prohibited by law ( state, federal , county or municipal ).
* You shall immediately inform your Parole Agent if you are arrested for a felony or a misdemeanor.
* You shall not own , use , have access to , or have under your control any type of firearm or instrument or device which a reasonable person would believe to be capable of being used as a firearm. ( i.e. Plastic guns and replicas )
* You shall not posses any ammunition that can be used in a firearm.
* You shall not posses any weapon as defined in State or Federal statutes or listed in Penal Code section 12020.
* You shall not posses any knife with a blade longer than 2 inches , except kitchen knives which must be kept in your residence and knives relating to your employment.
* You may not possess a crossbow.
* You shall sign this parole agreement containg the conditions of parole and any special conditions imposed.
Remember that these are standard conditions that apply to everyone. Now lets talk about Special Conditions. These conditions do not apply to everyone. Special Conditions are specific restrictions that apply to the individual parolee and address the activities that helped him go to the joint in the first place. For example your typical dope fiend parolee. If he has a history of drug use that was obviously a factor in him going to the joint in the first place , or is a factor or reason he keeps getting violated , then a close monitoring of any drug use and restrictions on that will be a Special Condition. So he will have ANT, Anti Narcotic Testing.
He's going to give a urine sample on a regular basis. If a common denominator in the crimes that sent him to prison were gang related activities then a Special Condition could be no gang affiliation or contact. A child molester will be restricted from contact with kids and so on. The Special Conditions are placed on the convict by the Parole Agent and are again agreed to prior to release but they can be added after release. You already know the Standard Conditions but you will not know if any Special Conditions exist nor what they are unless you contact the Parole Agent. Don't forget that Special Conditions are in addition to the Standard ones.
Lets talk about some misconceptions that some COPS have about Parole violations. The biggest is that Police Officers cannot violate a parolees parole. We can arrest for a parole violation warrant or if we are acting as an agent for the Parole Agent but we cannot violate them ourselves. Next , it is not a violation of parole to be in the presence of another parolee or a convicted felon. It could be if it is a Special Condition but not as a Standard Condition. Parolees are not required to tell you they are on parole and they do not have to have a California Department of Corrections ( a.k.a. CDC ) ID card on them. In fact they should not have one on them. It should be taken from them when they are released from the institution. If the CDC card is all they have for picture ID, you might want to let them keep it until they get proper ID.
I hope some of this stuff will help you do your jobs better and safer. In the future we'll talk about Parole searches, interview techniques with parolees, investigative resources within CDC , tattoo recognition / interpretation and prison slang. Until then, be careful!
For more info contact:
Sergeant Ken Whitley,