State records show the number of people released on parole to Monroe County from state prisons has decreased by more than half in the past five years, contradicting city officials’ claims that the Indiana Department of Correction was inundating Bloomington with people who had no ties to the community.
During a news conference last month, Bloomington Police Department Chief Mike Diekhoff announced a new commitment from the state that only inmates with connections to Monroe County will get released to the county on parole.
But the DOC says the policy was always the same. That conflicts with city officials’ stance that Monroe County had become a repository for parolees because of the wide variety of services available to released inmates starting their lives over.
“Our policy has always been to put our released offenders in the place of their last residence or county of conviction,” DOC Commissioner Robert Carter said in an email. “We won’t put them in places where they don’t belong.”
The Bloomington Parole District’s supervisor said the decrease actually started at the end of 2012, when DOC officials split the 21-county district roughly in half. “Back when I first started, every Tom, Dick and Harry was coming to this county,” said Justin Noblitt, who has worked at the Bloomington office since 2012.
“We’ve told them numerous times. We’re limiting the number of people.”
How it works
Parole placement applications get submitted 180 days before an inmate’s release from prison. Parole officers then determine where the person was convicted and his or her last known address, or the address of an immediate family member, Noblitt explained.