Wichita County Sheriff David Duke discussed the pros and cons of the increased flow of parolees from prison into the Wichita Falls area yesterday in an interview on Channel 6 TV news.
Statistics show there were 170 convicted felons released from Texas prisons and assigned to Wichita County in 2012 which was an increase from the 115 released in 2011.
The risks of placing parolees into the public is illustrated by a case in the 1990's in which a convicted murderer was released into Wichita Falls when several other cities had rejected him.
Wichita County officials were furious when they discovered the man was living in Wichita Falls without notice from the Texas Parole Board.
The wife of a prominent Wichita Falls attorney was unloading groceries from her car when the convicted murderer spied on her from behind a tree across the street. As she started lugging her groceries into her home he ran at her.
Fortunately, she was able to reach the safety of her home before he could attack her.
He was charged with Attempted Assault and convicted in County Court At Law #2 presided over by then Judge Tom Bacus.
The conviction was used to revoke his parole and send him back to prison.
Sheriff Duke said there are positive and negative aspects of parolees being released from prison. He said, "Once they hit the street some of them start hanging around some of the same people and in the same environment they were in before they went to prison. The ones that do that may fall off the wagon and be sent back to prison. It's a circle...some people keep going around in a circle."
He told reporter Christina Myers that, "A good majority of the parolees can become productive citizens. The Texas Department of Corrections have a limited number of beds. When they release someone, it opens up more beds for us to send people in our jail to."
There were only l05 parolees released to the Wichita Falls area in 2010.
Duke also warned there have been more arrests for parole violations by his deputies in the past year.
Hopefully, there won't be anymore murderers paroled from the prisons sent to Wichita Falls, Texas without at least a warning to local authorities so proper precautions can be taken.
It's reassuring to know that both Sheriff David Duke and Wichita Falls Chief of Police Manuel Borrego are doing a good job of fighting the criminal element here.
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