Maryland Upgrades Parole Office Check-Ins
07/20/2011
WAMU

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July 20, 2011 - Those on parole in Maryland are now just a few mouse clicks away from reporting to their supervising officers.

The hand reader (at right) makes sure the offender checking in at the parole kiosk is the correct person.

The state is unveiling new computer kiosks at each of its parole offices, that will allow offenders to check in without having to see an officer.

Patricia Vale, acting director of Maryland's division of parole and probation, says only those considered "low-risk" can use the kiosk check-in and not see an officer.

"People who have been under supervision for some length of time, who have worked their way down," says Vale. "During compliance, they're reporting, they haven't been re-arrested."

Each kiosk has a hand-reader, which can identify the offender. The computer then asks questions, such as whether the person has been arrested since the last visit.

"A big plus with the kiosk is that it can also select offenders for drug testing randomly, so that when people report, they won't know if they'll be selected or not," says Vale.

If an offender lies to the computer, he or she can face further punishment from a judge.