SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Relatives of victims who died at the hands of parolees gave emotional testimony at the state Capitol on Wednesday, and a former parole agent blasted what she described as systemic agency oversights that have been put under the spotlight in the wake of the end of Jaycee Lee Dugard’s captivity.
Retired parole officer Caroline Aguirre leveled harsh criticism at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for what she called “the sloppiest of all parole supervision” for kidnapper and rapist Phillip Garrido, the parolee who managed to imprison Dugard in his Antioch backyard for 18 years.
“Heads should have rolled. Everyone should have been fired,” Aguirre said. “No one is held accountable. In fact, the more you screw up in the Department of Corrections, the more apt you are to get promoted.”
Aguirre referred to newly released home video from Phillip and Nancy Garrido showing the search of the couple’s home by a parole agent. The agent didn’t find Jaycee Lee Dugard because he clearly violated basic policy and procedure that all agents are supposed to follow, Aguirre said.
“That’s not a parole search. I don’t know what that guy was doing,” she added.
Grieving family members shared stories of loved ones who had been killed by parolees they say outsmarted the system and were released despite posing a danger to the public.
Karen Sutton, whose daughter Sharon was murdered on July 24, 2010, said that if the parole board had been able to exercise discretion, the murderer would never have been on the street.
“Parole officers never once saw him in five months, until he murdered Sharon,” Sutton said.
The stories of ongoing problems were heard at a community meeting organized by State Senator Ted Gaines (R-Roseville) and El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson to highlight the failures that allowed Garrido to escape detection for so long.
Gaines announced during the meeting that he will introduce legislation that would undo a California Supreme Court ruling that forces the parole board to consider numerous factors other than the original crime to determine whether a prison should be released.