Senate Bill 428 from the 2003 Legislative session requires: "In its annual report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, under s. 20.315 (5), the department shall include a detailed analysis of community control programs and the department's specific efforts to protect the public from offenders placed on community control. The analysis must include but need not be limited to, specific information on..."
In order to ensure community control contact standards are met, with virtually no exceptions, revisions were made in the contact policy in February 2003 to implement a process where contact requirements are reviewed at increased intervals, prior to the end of the work week, as required.
Since implementation of this policy, community control officers are now meeting contact requirements on 98.6% of the community control supervised population. This is up from 95.2% in the previous year.
A proactive, offender based information system (OBIS) generated report was developed for officers and supervisors to run periodically to ensure contact standard compliance is met.
In order for the department to provide information regarding crimes committed by offenders as directed in SB 428, database programming was enhanced in July 2003 to record the alleged violation(s), new offense, and final outcomes or dispositions of violations submitted to the court or releasing authority.
The department's database reflects 1,377 community control offenders committed a new crime while on supervision. Of those, 433 were for misdemeanor offenses. Among the 944 felony offenses remaining, 110 were for Cocaine Possession, 102 were for Driving While License Suspended/Revoked and 46 were for Grand Theft less than $5,000. The 686 offenses remaining ranged from Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer to Trafficking in Stolen Property to Forgery and Others.
In October 2003, enhanced database programming was added to the Offender Classification System to provide two community control supervision levels. The supervision levels are derived from a risk assessment system which is similar to the probation risk assessment instrument established by the National Institute of Justice. The risk system assigns a supervision level based on the offender's probability of re-offending, committing a technical violation, or absconding. This distinction assists the community control officer in identifying which offenders require the highest level of monitoring and surveillance.
In the two risk categories established within community control, as of June 30 2004, 29.7 % were in the higher community supervision level.
The most recent policy changes regarding reporting violations began in June 2003, when the department implemented a zero tolerance policy. The department targeted the most serious offenders, in order to ensure that violations were being reported consistently statewide. Community control procedures were revised in June and July 2003, emphasizing and reinforcing the zero tolerance policy.
"Zero tolerance" is simply enforcing offenders' conditions of supervision imposed by the court or parole commission with zero tolerance for non-compliance. Zero tolerance ensures consistency in policy enforcement is being followed to enforce conditions of supervision; it stresses to offenders that the department has a "no nonsense" policy, and ultimately serves as a means to prevent new victims by removing non-compliant offenders from the community.
Completed community control violation investigations overall increased from a monthly average of 1,331 in FY 2002-03 to a monthly average of 1,479 in FY 2003-04. While completed violations for technical noncompliance were up from a monthly average of 986 in FY 2002-03 to 1,199 in FY 2003-04, the average number of completed violations for a new arrest was down during this same period from 340 in FY 2002-03 to 276 in FY 2003-04.
The department currently supervises 54,670 offenders with a history of violence. Of those, 4,730 are community controlees (8.7%). On August 11, 2004, the department re-emphasized the necessity of immediate arrest for offenders with violent criminal histories and asked each sheriff and state attorney for support and assistance in conducting warrantless arrests to remove (and keep) dangerous offenders off the street (Section 948.06, Florida Statutes).
Since August 20, 2004, probation officers have taken a more aggressive approach in obtaining booking and arrest information from local law enforcement agencies in order to identify offenders under supervision who have been arrested. Probation officers are also partnering with law enforcement on a more frequent basis to assist in serving outstanding violation warrants in order to remove offenders who are a threat to the community.
Each circuit is actively pursing and renewing partnership agreements with law enforcement to coordinate serving warrants, conducting warrantless arrests, searches, and curfew checks.
In order to monitor the quality of contacts being made with community control offenders, in March 2003, the contact procedure was revised to implement "quality assurance contacts." Each month supervisors randomly contact community control offenders (5% of the community control caseload), discuss the quality and level of their supervision, and document these responses accordingly.
In order to determine ineligible community control sentences, the department developed a program to identify ineligible community control sentences based on the forcible felony criteria and the current offense. Officers review the complete criminal history of these identified offenders for a prior forcible felony, and if the offender is determined to be ineligible for community control, the sentencing judge is notified via letter for further review of the sentence.
The "Howard E. Futch Act", effective July 1, 2003, has been successful in reducing ineligible sentences. Prior to the implementation of the Futch Bill, 171 (2.7%) of the 6,256 offenders placed on community control from July 1, 2002 until December 31, 2002 by the courts were ineligible for placement under s. 948.01(10), F.S.
Following the passage of the Futch Bill during the time period July 1, 2003 through December 31, 2003, 103 (1.5%) of the 6,786 offenders placed on community control by the courts were ineligible for placement. The most recent statistics reflect that from April 1, 2004 to June 30, 2004 there were 38 ineligible placements reported to the sentencing judge.
No action was taken on 30 and of the eight remaining, three were placed on Drug Offender Probation and five were placed on regular probation.
Electronic Monitoring Systems
In May 2004, revisions were made to the electronic monitoring procedure to ensure the following:
The Department's first and primary responsibility is to protect the public. Ongoing efforts continue to be developed toward that end.