How does Ohio's parole system really work?

Posted at 3:24 PM, Feb 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-08 16:16:14-05

Ohio's parole system continues to rebuild following significant cutbacks five years ago that left parole officers supervising as many as 150 parolees.

Convicted felons released from prison often are required to complete several years of supervised release that includes reporting to parole officials on a regular basis--sometimes several times each month.

But Ohio Adult Parole records show that beginning in 2010, the total number of parole officers statewide dropped from a high of 493 in 2010 to a record low of 352 by January 2012.

It's drop of 141 parole officers led to many having caseloads that included up to 150 parolees.

Today, the total number of parole officers is approximately 445 statewide supervising more than 35,000 parolees.

Who is actually searching for them and how many are hiding out in neighborhoods across Ohio?

Our investigation found parole violators are remaining on the run for months before officially being labeled  as "fugitives"--delaying trained fugitive warrant teams from being dispatched and giving absconders a huge head start.

Coming up Tuesday on NewsChannel 5 at 11, an exclusive 5 On Your Side Investigation tracks what really happens when parolees on the run fail to report in to their parole officials, and how some of those fugitives may live in your backyard.