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DOC parole director defends system yet admits evaluation being sought

By Joe Dominguez, Multimedia Journalist - Pueblo Chieftain Bureau , j.dominguez@krdo.com
Published On: Apr 09 2013 04:02:59 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 05 2013 12:02:55 AM CDT

Tim Hand, director of parole services for the DOC, said the double-murder suspect's behavior while on parole warranted giving him the benefit of the doubt when his ankle monitor registered problems.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

The Department of Corrections is defending its move to wait four days to find Evan Ebel after he cut his ankle monitor. Tim Hand, director of parole services for the DOC, said the double-murder suspect's behavior while on parole warranted giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Ebel was an intensive supervision parolee. That meant he was required to wear a GPS-tracking ankle monitor. Currently, there are around 180 such inmates on parole in Colorado under that classification. The total number of parolees is closer to 1,400.

Tim Hand said it took parole officers four days to check Ebel's home because of good behavior he had displayed for nearly two months since being released from prison.

"Since Jan. 28, the day he was released, he called in every day," said Hand. "He submitted his urine samples that were clean every time. He was attending treatment, he had a job and he had a residence."

Because of those factors, Ebel was considered someone who was complying with his parole requirements and not someone who needed to be tracked down immediately once problems were triggered with his ankle monitor. Based on Ebel's behavior, Hand said parole officers expected a call from Ebel on Friday March 14 once that alert went off.

"There were no indications that have been reported that Evan Ebel was at all non-compliant up until the middle of March," said Hand.

By Sunday, March 16, Nathan Leon was killed, presumably for his pizza delivery uniform. On Tuesday March 18, Tom Clements, head of the Colorado Department of Corrections, was shot and killed while answering his front door near Monument. Ebel is the primary suspect in both murders.

Hand said they are looking over the record of the parole officer charged with Ebel's oversight though he did call that person an "outstanding officer" on Thursday.

A national organization will also be asked to review parole procedures.

"We hope they give us any and everything they can give us to close any gaps (in parole procedures) that can be identified," said Hand.

Hand believes Ebel's case is simply a miscalculation of how dangerous he was and how little he sought change.

"We are a division of public safety. We manage risk every single day and it's our responsibility to ensure that offenders on parole are complying with orders set forth by the state board of parole," said Hand.

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