NewsPublic Affairs / March 5, 2014

Indy Expanding Parolee Support Program

Sam Klemet
Indy Expanding Parolee Support Program

Indianapolis is expanding an effort that connects parolees with services such as housing and employment.

It involves putting a parole officer in each district, making support services more accessible for ex-offenders and their families.

Southeast District Commander John Conley says the more help they have; the less likely they are to return to jail.

"We cannot arrest our way out of this problem," he said.  "We have to find a way to prevent it and when we look at preventing it, if we can transform lives one at a time, we can transform communities."

The program started last year in the Northwest District.

IMPD Operations Chief Brian Mahone says it helps better understand who is coming back from behind bars and what services they need to start a new life.

"The first thing we wanted to do was reach out to DOC and find out what parole is doing and how can we work closely with parole," he said.  "In the model we are actually able to form a partnership with parole.  As a police department, it's hard for us to actually create a program and maintain it because our job is to reduce crime and the fear of crime and address quality of life issues."

The collaboration is with the Department of Metropolitan Development and Department of Corrections.

Julie Fidler with DMD says the goal is to connect parolees with housing, employment and other services.

"I don't want to be sitting here in 30 years having the same conversation because we have been unable to apply these things, not only just to the men, but their families, as well - making them better fathers, working with them on employment  and other education opportunities," said Fidler.  

The effort is expanding to all districts this year starting with the East.