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*** UPDATED x2 - Not totally clean - Some questions answered *** Stories raise unanswered questions about IDOC policy

Friday, Aug 22, 2014

* By itself, this doesn’t mean a whole lot

Two parolees, including one on electronic monitoring, have been charged with shooting a Harvey police officer, then holding six children and two women hostage over two days before they were arrested by a SWAT team.

David Jordan, of Dixmoor and Peter Williams, of Chicago, are each charged with attempted murder of a police officer, aggravated criminal sexual assault with a firearm, home invasion and aggravated kidnapping.[…]

Jordan was allowed to leave his “home base” in Dixmoor between 6:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., according to IDOC spokesman Tom Shaer. On Tuesday, Jordan left at 6:47 a.m. and returned at 11:12 p.m., Shaer said. He left again at 11:51 a.m. and never returned, he said. […]

IDOC doesn’t always send an apprehension team to arrest a parolee who’s missing, Shaer said. The department often tries phone calls, visits to known hangouts and contacts with informants, he said. Shaer wouldn’t say what steps IDOC took to determine Jordan’s whereabouts.

But when no contact was made in the seven hours after Jordan missed his 3 p.m. Tuesday deadline, the department issued a warrant for his arrest.

Even if the department had issued the arrest warrant immediately at 3 o’clock, the guy was already holding hostages, so it would’ve been meaningless.

* But you get the feeling by reading all the stories today that the reporters are definitely looking for something

“Six attempts were made to locate him,” Shaer said. “(W)hen the last attempt turned up nothing further, a warrant was issued.” […]

Despite the newest crime Jordan is accused of committing, Shaer defended the parole system Thursday.

“There was no systemic failure in this case, and there is no systemic issue, overall, in IDOC parole,” he said.

* And

But when Jordan didn’t return home by his 3 p.m. deadline, the Illinois Department of Corrections parole division tried without success to contact Jordan six times, a spokesman for the agency said.

After the sixth attempt to reach him had failed, the department generated an automatic arrest warrant that was distributed to law-enforcement agencies across the state at 10:22 p.m., agency spokesman Tom Schaer said.[…]

Schaer declined to divulge whether a specific time limit exists that would trigger an arrest warrant if a parolee on electronic-monitoring is missing.

“We are unable to tell you that time because it would jeopardize public safety,” Schaer told the Chicago Sun-Times. “It would tell parolees how and when we look for them. We prefer to keep them in the dark as much as possible.”

Was IDOC trying to contact him or locate him? We have two different stories. Calling his phone would be a lot different than sending folks out to look for him.

* And more than 7 hours elapsed before an “automatic” warrant was issued for Jordan? Has it always been standard IDOC practice to wait that long? And, if so, why?

I could see giving parolees a brief buffer beyond their time limit, just out of humaneness (things do happen in life), but this guy was a murderer who spent more than 20 years behind bars. Should parolees like this really be allowed more than 7 hours extra time before enforcement kicks in? Could this be some sort of data manipulation to reduce reported parolee recidivism? Is my tinfoil hat on too tight?

Whatever the case, as long as IDOC refuses to answer questions about its policy and if there have been any recent changes to that policy, some folks are gonna suspect the worst. And I don’t blame them. A horribly botched IDOC early release policy nearly cost Gov. Quinn the Democratic primary in 2010. I’m sure the guv doesn’t want a repeat. On the other hand, waiting 7 hours before issuing a warrant could turn out to be an even worse mistake.

*** UPDATE 1 *** I just got off the phone with IDOC’s Shaer. He says there has been “no change” in the warrants policy in 2013 or 2014. The department decided it was “calling back” lots of warrants in 2012 because they were finding the guys on their own by doing things like contacting sources, local law enforcement, family and friends, sending out their own recovery teams, etc.

Shaer said he understood my concern about waiting so long to issue a warrant, but repeated that “A warrant is separate and distinct from looking for the guy,” he said. It’s “the last straw.”

…Adding… Also from Shaer…

This Department cannot disclose methods, timing or other specifics of the search or warrant processes. To do so would jeopardize public safety by thus showing parolees how and when we do our job. Safety and security require they not be informed of such internal procedures.

As for Jordan, he had a “generally compliant” parole record for a year or so, according to Shaer. He missed one meeting with his parole officer due to illness, but Shaer says the record doesn’t explain if this was the officer’s illness or Jordan’s. He also had a clean prison record.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Jordan’s prison record wasn’t totally clean. He was given an extra four years for possessing a weapon in prison.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


20 Comments
  1. - VanillaMan - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 10:09 am:

    He wasn’t just another parolee.
    He was a murderer out on parole.
    IDOC needs to have greater concern for the public’s safety when it comes to murderers out of their sight.

    I don’t want this guy to have been treated just like a parolee who was in jail for check fraud.


  2. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 10:17 am:

    —Jordan was on electronic monitoring, which does not track a parolee’s whereabouts like GPS does, just whether they are in the home base or not, Shaer said. IDOC had no way of knowing where he was, he said.—

    What?!? This is the real issue.


  3. - Illiana - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 10:20 am:

    —Jordan was on electronic monitoring, which does not track a parolee’s whereabouts like GPS does, just whether they are in the home base or not, Shaer said. IDOC had no way of knowing where he was, he said.—

    Is it common for states to have something that monitors a parolee’s whereabouts?


  4. - Stones - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 10:29 am:

    It illustrates an important flaw in the electronic monitoring system that the general public does not understand. Electronic monitoring will not prevent someone from harming another if they are intent on doing so. Yes, it is significantly cheaper but it should never be considered to be a substitute for incarceration.


  5. - Been There - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 10:31 am:

    ===On the other hand, waiting 7 hours before issuing a warrant could turn out to be an even worse mistake. ====
    If we are worrying about a guy because of 7 hours maybe he shouldn’t have been our at all. He could easily do what he did in one hour. And he could have done it during the “free” time he was allowed. Drilling down on a time line this short is not a big deal to me. He gets 8 and half hours a day already. My guess is this happens and is then just used against the person in their reviews for when they are seeking more lenient parole terms. Again, if we are that worried about a parole missing for this short of time he shouldn’t be walking the streets at all.


  6. - Gooner - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 10:49 am:

    There is a broader problem here.

    Why was he out at all?

    In IL, we continue to lock up non-violent drug offenders, and we continue to let violent offenders out to make room for them.

    He’s a murderer. He should not have left prison at all.


  7. - John Howard Association - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    This terrible incident points to the need for better management of resources based on individualized risk assessment as mandated by the Illinois Crime Reduction Act of 2009. Proper implementation of risk assessment would allow allocation of resources where needed so that offenders at higher risk to recidivate would receive more supervision. And conversely limited resources would not be wasted on low risk individuals that do not pose a danger to the community.


  8. - Bourbonrich - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 11:17 am:

    This seems more of a why was he paroled than a why did the monitoring now work. Electronic monitoring works better for people who are likely to obey the law. This seems to be an inappropriate use.


  9. - RonOglesby - Now in TX - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    Its a damn shame. Though I know guys that work parole/probation and they are swamped. Not just at the state but even the Fed level. Time out for good behavior, early releases, etc.
    Home monitoring is not GPS all it does is say if they are home or not. there are also automatic phone calls that people have to answer.

    A parole officer cant go out on every software beep that shows someone is not at his home base yet. And they create their workload levels assuming almost everyone will comply. So when one guy DOESN’T comply and goes missing for several hours the officer may also have several others that are late and he is attempting to call or track down.

    Add to that that an officer may live an hour or 90 minutes from where their ward is living. If he drops everything because someone is 30 minutes will no call or contact, leaves, gets to the house and still not there, he may spend 3 or 4 hours with no contact.

    I get the point. This guy is a bad guy… and “something should be done!” But really. If we didnt lock up non-violent offenders, we would have room to keep those violent - dangerous to others types locked up and not out causing this type of mayhem.


  10. - JS Mill - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    I can only speak from the perspective of one experience with IDOC parole/probation but it was a telling experience. We had a student (18 yo) that was on probation for a violent crime. He was on electronic monitoring. His only contact with his officer was via phone. The student was in central Illinois and the probation officer was in the Chicago area. When we intersected he had not read the students file and new almost nothing about him or the environment he was in. He said that he had a large case load and that he never met with his people other than by phone. There is more to the story, the situation did not work out well and we had to involve the police because probation would not act. If this is indicative of how they handle their cases I can understand why there are issues. I suspect resources are the root of the problem. If you do not have the people, you cannot effective manage the case load.


  11. - Rob Roy - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 11:40 am:

    The Dept. of Corrections gets there orders from the Governor. The DOC director doesn’t just do this stuff on his own.


  12. - Da Moat - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    Mr. Roy, you are correct sir.


  13. - OneMan - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    Looks like he got 4 years for the weapon in prison. Interesting a guy can do all that stuff and be out in 20 years.


  14. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    To the update: Unbelievable.

    I assumed these men took a sudden, unexpected turn for the worse while out on parole that no one could have reasonably expected based on their history.

    You know what they say about assumptions. Jordan was convicted of and sentenced to

    3 counts of Armed Robbery - 8 years
    Felon Poss Weapon In Prison - 4 years
    Murder/Intent To Kill/Injure - 35 years

    He was only in custody for about 13 years, and was paroled less than 1 year ago. This is crazy.


  15. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    Never mind, my math was completely incorrect.

    Jordan was taken into custody March 3 1990. He was admitted to prison September 18, 1992. He was paroled September 13, 2013. I apparently omitted a decade. Sheesh.


  16. - DuPage - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 12:24 pm:

    The prisons are crowded with non-violent offenders. Meanwhile CONVICTED MURDERERS are let out of prison? Something is very wrong here.


  17. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    ===Meanwhile CONVICTED MURDERERS are let out of prison?===

    Yes, it happens every day in every state and at the federal level.


  18. - crazybleedingheart - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 12:42 pm:

    Of COURSE the papers are clutching their pearls over 7 hours of pre-warrant investigation for 1 of the 2 parolees involved, and not inquiring about the complete lack of meaningful release programming or employment opportunities available to either parolee, including during the 8.5 hours of movement granted for degrading, futile “job search” (the hours during which the armed robbery began).

    23 years in the joint and then what on the outside?

    It’s a bad crime and these guys are responsible.

    But if we’re also going to hold the system accountable, let’s really do it. Time from EM alarm-to-warrant ain’t the issue.

    I’ve been wondering: anybody heard anything at all about what Rauner plans to do in terms of our ongoing IDOC crisis? Will he be increasing positions for programming and services? Support reforms to reduce overcrowding?

    Prisons are an important part of being governor. Weird that as far as I can tell, he’s been completely silent.


  19. - I B Strapped - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 12:59 pm:

    This looks a lot like the inmates are running the asylum…..


  20. - ISP Retired - Friday, Aug 22, 14 @ 2:16 pm:

    Mr. Roy you are correct. It is not IDOC employees fault. As a retired state police officer had much experience dealing with parolees, the system is a joke, one case was a drug parolee out from a class x charge was arrested for a class 1 delivery and they refused to revoke his parole. Not until the State’s Atty said he was contacting the media that they then revoked him. Just one example.


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