DOC says it lacks money to supervise high-risk parolees, but 7NEWS finds agency has given up funding

DOC returned money to state twice in three years

DENVER - A report looking into procedures by the Colorado Department of Corrections has found nearly 1,200 times where a parolee should have been on ISP -- intensive supervised parole -- but was not because of "budgetary reasons" or "program caps."

The records were first reported by our partners at the Denver Post.

Parolees under ISP are supposed to be supervised more closely than a regular parolee.

Evan Ebel was on ISP when authorities say he cut off his ankle monitor and killed Nate Leon, a father and part-time pizza deliveryman, and former Department of Corrections chief Tom Clements.

The report found that 1,198 parolees were either not placed in ISP or moved out of ISP because of budget reasons.

"The information indicates this practice to be a system-wide business practice which was widely accepted, practiced for many years and continues to date," said the report.

"In my five years in the legislature, when the Department of Corrections feels they need more money for a certain program, they ask for it,"  State Rep. Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs told 7NEWS.

In June, Waller called for the state House Judiciary committee to investigate the Department of Corrections.

"We ask that you initiate investigative hearings into the Department of Corrections focusing primarily on the Department's use and administration of the ISP. It is incumbent upon us that we take steps necessary to understand why these criminals are not being properly supervised and ensure that the public is adequately protected," Waller's letter stated.

"Obviously there's a problem going on here and we need a little bit more transparency from the Department of Corrections," said Waller.

7NEWS reviewed documents from the Department of Corrections to the state Joint Budget Committee, regarding requests for funding.

The state budgets from July of one year until June of the next year. In January, departments can request supplemental funding for the remainder of the year.

In 2011, the Department of Corrections reported to the Joint Budget Committee that it was willing to return $198,806 in funding for ISP.

In 2012, the Department of Corrections wrote, "The Department requests a decrease of $238,449… in (fiscal year) 2011-12 due to projected population decreases in the Parole and Parole Intensive Supervision Program (ISP) Subprogram."

In January, however, the Department of Corrections asked for additional funding.

According to the supplemental request, the Department of Corrections sought $643,750, "due to projected population increases in the Parole and Parole Intensive Supervision Program (ISP) Subprograms…"

7NEWS checked the parole population in January, when the request was submitted, and the Department of Corrections reported 6,513 regular parolees. In June, there were more than 200 fewer regular parolees with 6,309.

In January, the Department of Corrections reported 1,024 ISP parolees, but in June there were 1,022.

The House Judiciary committee will hold hearings regarding the Department of Corrections in September.