Governor forms working group to study concerns about APA monitoring of offenders

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, right, speaks during the Ohio State of the State address as Ohio Senate president Larry Obhof looks on at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

COLUMBUS (WBNS) - Governor Mike DeWine is calling for a full review of how offenders are watched once they're released from prison.

It's an issue 10 Investigates has been reporting on for years.

    But it was an incident in Dayton in August that caught Gov. DeWine’s attention.

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    The incident involved newly-released parolee Raymond Walters, who is accused of stabbing his father and then crashing a stolen police car – killing two children. The incident happened in late August after Walters was released from prison and had been under the watch of the Adult Parole Authority for 16 days.

    This was not Walters first run-in with authorities.

    An internal investigation by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows starting in 2008 Walters was arrested and convicted three times for theft, robbery and drug offenses. Each time he got, the records show, Walters violated his parole.

    The officer assigned to him most recently was a first-year rookie with 64 other offenders to keep track of, according to a copy of the report.

    That same internal ODRC investigation found her supervision of Walters was appropriate.

    But neighbor claims she told the parole officer that Walters was threatening and acting violent and had reported that behavior to Parole Officer Dawn Grieshop.

    -"(a neighbor) called (Parole Officer Dawn) Grieshop telling her Walters was not

    acting right but Grieshop said she couldn't do anything, that Lloyd (Walters) would have to call, that she told Grieshop he was going to kill his dad, and that this went on every single day he was out,” according to an excerpt from the internal investigation.

    ORDC investigators also interviewed Raymond Walters and the parole officer. Walters said he wished his parole officer has arrested him when she first met him and that APA didn't do anything for him. The parole officer said she had phone contact with Walters, had spoken to his father who said everything was fine and told Raymond Walters to check into a drug rehab facility. All of that occurred before was arrested for the stabbing and fatal crash.

    A spokesman for the union that represents parole officers said that DeWine’s working group would benefit from the addition of a current parole officer.

    According to the news release from the governor’s office: “The APA, which is a division of ODRC, is responsible for the post-release control supervision of more than 20,500 adult felony inmates who have been released back into society after serving their full prison sentences.”

    But a 10 Investigates’ check of the records shows there are more than 36,000 parolees who are under some type of post-release supervision – including community control and others. Currently, there are 452 parole officers assigned to monitor those parolees.

    “I have serious concerns that some post-release control policies aren’t strong enough to adequately monitor offender reentry and also protect the public,” said Governor DeWine in a statement. “It’s time that Ohio takes a good look at improving the post-release control process to help offenders positively transition back into society and to swiftly hold them accountable if they commit a violation of their supervision.”

    Governor DeWine also signed an executive order creating the Governor’s Working Group on Post-Release Control to review and recommend improvements to the APA’s post-release control supervision practices in Ohio.

    Members of the working group include:

    • Annette Chambers-Smith, ODRC director, co-chair
    • Dr. Reginald Wilkson, former ODRC director, co-chair
    • Stuart Hudson, ODRC assistant director and former parole officer
    • Dr. Edward Latessa, University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice
    • Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township)
    • Prosecutor Kevin Talebi, Champaign County
    • Elizabeth Poprocki, Ohio Victim Witness Association
    • Molly Gauntner, Ohio Chief Probation Officer’s Association
    • Sara Andrews, Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission

    Here are links to our past investigative reports on this issue:

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