From January 1990 until last September, Jose Rodriguez was a guest of the State of Texas in its Graybar Hotel chain. He had been convicted for burglary of a habitation using a deadly weapon, attempted aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and auto theft. Last September he was paroled to a halfway house in Dallas County. In December 2017 he was transferred to a halfway house in Houston. In March of this year he was outfitted with an ankle monitor and released to live in a home.
On July 5 Rodriguez cut off his ankle monitor and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Before he was captured on July 17, Rodriguez went on a crime spree which included the robbery-murders of a homeowner and the managers of two mattress stores.
An angry Houston police chief told a press conference his cops were going to crack down on parolees. Chief Art Acevedo said:
“Two things community needs to know: We are going to be flies on stink on parolees. They are not going to like living here unless they want to be responsible members of the community.”
I have long criticized the lack of real supervision given to parolees. Parolees cannot be adequately supervised only on Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with office appointments and forewarned field visit appointments. Many, if not most, parole violations occur during the nighttime and on weekends.
And those ankle monitors should not be a substitute for good parole supervision. Jose Rodriguez was not busted because he had cut off his monitor, but because of an extensive manhunt by cops after he went on his deadly crime spree.
Nationwide, about 50 percent of parolees are returned to prison, some for violations of parole conditions, but most for committing new crimes. Parolees who completed their parole did so on their own without adequate supervision from their parole officers. Some of those who ‘succeeded’ on parole committed crimes for which they were not caught.
If Chief Acevedo keeps his promise about his cops being “flies on stink,” parolees in Houston can expect to get the kind of supervision from cops that they should have been getting from their parole officers.