Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Lovelle Mixon, the 26-year-old parolee who killed four Oakland police officers, had an extensive criminal record which included convictions for assault with a deadly weapon, possession of marijuana, auto theft, identity theft, forgery, grand theft and numerous offenses as a juvenile. After serving nearly five years in prison for assault with a firearm during an armed robbery he was released on parole. Mixon was returned to prison for nine months as a parole violator before being re-paroled last November.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a warrant had been issued for Mixon's arrest because "he missed a mandatory meeting with his (parole) agent las month amd was deemed a 'parolee at large'." A mandatory meeting? This tells me that Mixon's parole supervision was limited primarily to office visits. In that case, he was receiving what is known as a "paper parole."

What is a paper parole? It is a parole based not on field investigations, but on the periodic written reports required of all parole officers, reports which rely on information provided by the parolee during office visits. Since the overriding purpose of parole is to PROTECT THE PUBLIC from criminals, a paper parole is meaningless and absolutely worthless! However, this is not say that had Mixon been given adequate field supervison, the four Oakland officers would still be alive.

A parole officer cannot ascertain what a parolee is really doing through office visits, or even with field visits made by appointment.

During an office visit the parolee is most likley to say that things are going well, that he is living with his wife and kids or his parents, and that he is working at Earl Scheib's auto paint and body shop. In fact, he may not be living where he says he is and he may not be working at all. Except for those few instances when it may be psychologically advantageous to see a parolee on the parole officer's turf, office visits can be scrapped for all the good they do.

And those field visits by appointment don't help much either. The appointments are often made by phone calls to family members telling them when the parole officer will show up, That will give the parolee time to clean up his act so he can, with the cooperation of family members, appear to be living with them, when in fact he is not. Wives or parents will usually lie to parole officers to keep the parolee from being returned to prison.

If the supervison of parolees is reduced to a paper parole, there can only be two reasons for such a sad state of affairs. One reason would be that there are not an adequate number of parole officers, thus leaving the officers with unmanageable large case loads. The other reason is that the parole officers are afraid to visit parolees, especially at nights, in dangerous high-crime neighborhoods.

Most parolees do not live in middle-class or wealthy neighborhoods. I suspect the reason for paper paroles is that parole officers, especially the sissy social worker types, are scared shitless of getting shot, stabbed or stomped. If a parole officer is afraid to go out at nights to visit a parolee, then he has chosen the wrong profession. He should consider some other line of work, like passing out checks at the welfare office.

PAROLE WORK IS NOT FOR SISSIES! It requires men and women WITH GUTS! Meaningful parole supervision requires a work schedule other than the usual 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday work week. It requires surprise nighttime field visits, not appointed ones, to ascertain how a parolee is actually doing. And some of those surprise visits should be conducted on weekends.

The best way to avoid paper paroles is to stop hiring people with Master of Social Work (MSW) degrees to supervise parolees. Well educated cops and correctional officers are best suited for this line of work. They are much more likely to have the courage to go out at nights into dangerous neighborhoods. The MSW is going to feel that he didn't go to college for five years to get the shit kicked out of him. The ex-cop and ex-correctional officer is willing to face the challenge of a dangerous job, just as he did in his former occupation.

I don't know if the State of New York still uses the dual parole system it used back when I was a California Parole Agent. Each parolee in New York was, in effect, supervised by two parole officers. One officer, usually an MSW, took care of the parolee's social work needs. The other officer was an investigative officer who went out into the field to ascertain whether or not the parolee was reinvolved in criminal activities. That worked out rather well. It was not at all unusal for a parolee to be arrested by the investigative parole officer at the same time the sissy social worker was filling out his report on how well the parolee was doing.

Again, I am not contending that if Mixon's parole had been closely supervised with surprise nighttime field visits, he would not have ended up gunning down the four Oakland police officers. However, I think it is fair to say that the four offices might still be alive today had Mixon been the recipient of adequate parole field supervison. Anyway you cut it though, there can be no doubt whatsoever that the police and the public are endangered whenever the supervision of parolees is reduced to nothing more than a paper parole.

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