Oklahoma recently determined that a probationer had traveled to Kansas after sentencing due to receiving incorrect information from the Oklahoma court. The offender had been living in the receiving state for over three months with her family and was working two jobs. Returning to Oklahoma would have caused an unfair hardship on the offender, as she has no resources in Oklahoma and she was not at fault in returning to Kansas. Oklahoma contacted the Kansas Interstate Office and spoke to Cynthia Root, who was acting in DCA Matt Billinger’s absence. Ms.
Spirit of the Compact
Recognizing those who go above and beyond the general call of duty to reach the conclusion or solution that best serves public safety through the Interstate Compact.
On February 15, New Mexico Interstate Compact (ISC) received an after-hours call regarding an Arizona offender that came to New Mexico without permission from his local Arizona PO. New Mexico ISC called Arizona Probation DCA Dori Littler to see if she could assist with the local Arizona PO even though this was a non interstate case. Due to the Federal Holiday, DCA Littler was able to make phone calls and assist with getting a warrant in place with the local PO to hold the offender in custody for retaking upon her return.
Minnesota released a high risk sex offender from a DOC facility to South Dakota on interstate compact. The offender is also on supervision in South Dakota. Minnesota required that this offender be transported by DOC staff to his placement, although South Dakota had no similar requirement. This requirement could have posed quite a problem when crossing state lines. However, the South Dakota Commissioner, Doug Clark, and Parole DCA, Sarah Ball, were contacted and readily agreed to assist in transporting the offender.
Ms. Duke responded promptly to a request from Virginia to consider approving Reporting Instructions or expedited investigation of the transfer request for an elderly Tennessee resident offender who had been granted parole by Virginia and could be released before Christmas. There had been confusion about his parole status and release date on the Virginia side that caused his Transfer Request to not be submitted early enough to have a reply before his earliest possible release date. Ms.
On January 7, 2019, Washington DCA Tanja Gilmore was concerned of returned RI’s for a compact offender transferred to New Mexico from Washington. During that call, DCA Gilmore was able to supply supportive information from the offender’s father as well as the Washington PO to assist Commissioner Cohen to reach out to Region Manager Stephanie Vincenti of Las Cruces, NM to review the case and make further contact with the father and determine that the plan of supervision provided by the offender’s father was supportive and could continue to assist the offender on his rehabilitation.
Commissioner Cohen went above and beyond the call of duty when she provided prompt assistance to Arizona regarding a non-compact absconder who was apprehended in a small town in New Mexico and who was inadvertently released on Arizona's warrant. When Arizona asked Commissioner Cohen for assistance with a high risk, dangerous probationer who was not a compact offender, Commissioner Cohen did not hesitate to offer assistance in regard to alerting local law enforcement about this probationer.
An IL Sex Offender had been placed in Immigration custody on a Deportation Detainer upon release to IL parole. After several months, when Vietnam failed to provide the necessary documents for deportation, ICE was forced to release this offender to supervision. His family picked him up from a Chicago ICE facility and transported him to FL where they lived and could assist him. However, this offender did not have an approved ICOTS transfer. In fact, his siblings all lived in an area that has major sex offender restrictions.
Brandon Watts continues to be a true advocate for the spirit of the compact. He is helpful to the field in Texas, all ICOTS offices in the 50 states and three territories, and he is a hero for many. Below is a letter from a family member that shows how his daily work impacts so many:
Good Morning Miss Tina and Miss Heather,
I’m emailing the both of you because over the previous months, I’d say since February, I’ve been in contact with Brandon Watts. I want to let you both know that he has been phenomenal - absolutely going above and beyond for my situation.
Recently, Iowa had a parolee who had been retaken from Nebraska. The parolee completed a treatment program in Iowa and needed to return to Nebraska to reunite with her newborn child. She was on a waiting list for an apartment in Nebraska. Sally agreed to grant expedited reporting instructions allowing the offender to go to a temporary home plan, while waiting for a permanent residence. This is something not all states would agree to do but Sally was willing to assist. Sally is always willing to work with us to reach the best outcome for offenders and the community.
Paul Fuentes is a dedicated TXICO employee, his hard work and dedication along with his daily patience with families who are trying to navigate the ICAOS process is priceless. Below is a letter from a distraught family member who found solace in her daily communication with Paul.
Dear Ms. Balandran:
I have been trying to get my son transferred to Texas, from an Oklahoma jail, to live with us when he gets out. It has been quite an ordeal. He ended up being denied as we live too close to the swimming pool and park by a few feet.
Steve has always operated as a team player, not only for KY but for all member states, especially Indiana. He did not fall short when faced with one of Indiana's difficult sex offender transfer cases. Indiana submitted a RFRI's for a resident sex offender living in the receiving state when sentenced. Although the compact affords sex offenders the opportunity to travel daily to work, this offender could not exercise the privilege due to the commute totaling 7 hrs round trip. The offender not only had to miss work but his entire family was lodged with him.
On 06/05/2018 at 1:29pm the Court issued an order due to a defense motion in the case of a sex offender that stated, "State Probation shall allow the Defendant a travel pass to return to his home in Alabama immediately." When the order was processed and received at the probation office, Correctional Probation Supervisor Crews recognized that the order was in direct violation of ICAOS Rule 3.101-3 and immediately took action.
Dear Texas Compact Team,
I just wanted to express my thanks and gratitude to you for having Jocelyn Angton on your staff.
NY Parole Interstate Compact Office was approached by the NY City District Attorney’s office concerning a parolee who had successfully testified in a murder trial and was now receiving death threats. NYC DA wanted to assist the offender in relocating. After several conferences, Florida was identified as a possible transfer site as the offender was familiar with the state and had marginal ties. With the assistance of DCA Strickland, transfer was successfully effectuated in the spirit of Law Enforcement cooperation.
On 4/14/18 NY Parole’s Warrant and Transfer Unit contacted the NY Interstate Office requesting assistance. Warrant and Transfer Officers where attempting an extradition of a “non compact” NY offender at a local county jail in Texas. Despite having been informed that the offender was available for extradition, the county jail was now refusing to accept the predesigned waiver as the offender was refusing extradition. NY Interstate contacted DCA Clark and requested any assistance she could provide. DCA Clark, without any hesitation, assisted NY in successfully completing this extradition.
On March 13, 2018, NM PPO Daniel Montoya reached out to the NM Interstate office to get information on a Parolee from Wyoming that was under supervision for a Sex Offense committed in 1984, this offender also had a Sex offense case in New Mexico as well. PO Montoya provide the ISC office with the information as he was made aware by the offender he still owed supervision time in Wyoming after being extradited back to NM on his NM case.
On March 7, 2018 at 10:03am Florida DCA Tim Strickland emailed information to New York Parole DCA Felix Rosa regarding a New York Sex Offender that was transferred to Florida who on March 6, 2018 was arrested in Florida on new kidnapping and sex offenses against a child. FL advised NY that a full OVR would be submitted requesting NY to issue a warrant for the offender so under Florida Statutes the parolee could be held in custody until the disposition of the violation hearing was completed.
The District of Columbia is supervising a Compact-transferred offender for Virginia. The offender is a resident of DC by Compact definition. A Violation Report for Behavior Requiring Retaking was submitted documenting the offender's failure to follow-through with aftercare drug treatment and testing positive for cocaine and heroin. DC previously documented on Progress Reports and Violation Reports similar non-compliance related to substance abuse and interventions had been applied.
Idaho extradited an offender from Florida on a violation that we should not have submitted to our court as the violation happened before the Idaho crime. The extradition took 249 days and the offender lost her housing and her vehicle during the extradition process. Idaho reached out to North Carolina DCA Jay Lynn and Commissioner Timothy Moose, requesting if North Carolina would allow an offender whose mother moved to North Carolina two weeks prior be given reporting instructions before the transfer request was submitted.
DCA Candice Alfonso and Monique Griffith from the NJ Probation Compact Office worked closely with PA to get a combative female offender returned to NJ on a NJ warrant. When PA agents initially arrested the offender on the NJ warrant, she kicked over the water cooler in the office, threw water on a computer and became aggressive with the office staff. When the agents attempted to have her detained she claimed she was pregnant and miscarrying so she was taken to a hospital where she refused treatment.
Lisa Gros, Vince Paladino and Lori Lehmann from Michigan acted expeditiously to obtain a fully extraditable warrant for an offender being supervised in PA to protect a victim who feared retribution by this offender. MI immediately reviewed the Progress Report and the Violation Report that were submitted and within less than an hour had the warrant entered. It would have been rule complaint for MI to direct the offender's return; however, due to the victim's fear of retribution by the offender, Michigan agreed without hesitation to retake in custody.
On Thursday April 27, 2017 @ 11:23 a.m. I contacted Brandon via e-mail regarding an offender who was wishing to transfer to Texas who had a release date of May 2, 2017. Our office has been in a state of transition due to the loss of a staff member. As s result demands have been higher on existing staff. The offender’s case was inadvertently overlooked until April 27th when it was discovered that the TREQ had not been completed as thought. As such I reached out to Brandon who in the past has been absolutely fantastic to work with regarding cases.
Nevada would like to express our appreciation for the efforts of Unit Supervisor Christopher Lane in helping to resolve a case of a Nevada compact offender who is currently under compact supervision in Florida. Nevada was in the process of retaking this offender from Florida when, five hours after she had been picked up from the local facility in Florida by our contracted transport, she collapsed during the transport at a restroom stop in Florida and was admitted to the hospital due to what was diagnosed as pneumonia.
Washington had a case where a registrable individual was released from prison in another state and by the time it came to our attention, the offender had released to his father’s residence. Ohio/Kristin allowed the individual to remain in OH while WA worked with him to develop a viable home plan. There was a lot of back and forth and Kristin enlisted the aid of Suzanne Brooks who was also instrumental in helping WA approve this individual’s home plan. There was a real team effort by the WA PO, Kyle Helm, and OH’s Interstate staff.
The state of Oklahoma started working with this offender in July of 2016. For about 5 months Oklahoma worked with the state of Kansas to find appropriate housing for the offender, due to him being a sex offender and having medical disabilities. After multiple residence plans had to be denied in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma compact office and field officers agreed to work with Kansas to find suitable housing prior to the submission of a formal transfer packet.
Officer Krista Greenwood displayed the Spirit of the Compact by immediately responding to a request for emergency reporting instructions for an offender who is both a Michigan parolee and a Kentucky parolee. Michigan provided Kentucky with placement information prior to offender’s release from Michigan DOC; kept Kentucky informed in reference to his release date and placement approval prior to Kentucky even submitting a transfer request.
The District of Columbia’s Deputy Compact Administrator, Elizabeth Powell, was contacted by D.C. Superior Court Judge to help secure a transfer for a client who needed to reside in Florida were he had a great support system. The attorney was also a family friend who was able to provide immediate transportation from D.C. to Florida. Mr. Strickland assisted the D.C. Interstate Compact Office with a proposed Discretionary Transfer of a sex offender client who suffered from severe mental health issues. Mr.
On August 16, 2016, Utah received an alert through local dispatch concerning an online post a former compact offender had made in reference to a shooting the offender fantasized about committing at a school. Utah reached out to Arizona as the offender had recently returned to Arizona from the compact. Paula Soelle, with the Arizona Probation Compact Unit, sprung into action, as did Lucia Rodriguez and Julie Iris with Yuma County Probation. They made sure an immediate field visit was conducted.
Sgt. Hatch and Officer Woster worked with Utah to investigate a transfer request and reporting instructions on an offender who had been placed on court supervised probation and improperly allowed to relocate to Nevada without a compact. Sgt. Hatch and Officer Woster could have rejected the reporting instructions, however they recognized the totality of the situation and did not punish the offender for the court’s error. Utah is grateful to Sgt. Hatch and Officer Woster for their dedication and cooperation. It is individuals like these who truly make the compact work.
A South Carolina Field Agent in Charge contacted the SC Interstate Compact Office to report that a local sheriff’s deputy had completed an incident report from a woman and her children who have a No-Contact order against the ex-husband who lives in California. The woman saw the offender in South Carolina and he was also taking pictures of her and the children. She was fearful for her safety and the safety of the children, therefore, she called police.
This is a complex case of an offender who was 14 when she was convicted. Her mother was her co-defendant and is incarcerated within the Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC). The offender has been with the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) since being arrested and when she turns 18 she will be released to extended family in Tennessee.
The Tennessee PO who accepted her case, Richard Kinner, graciously agreed to participate in a conference call with Virginia’s DOC and DJJ, the offender, and her Counselor to plan for her release.