The GUARDIAN has received a series of complaints of late regarding Ada County’s misdemeanor probation system and its private for-profit operating company.
While several of the complaints are admittedly from offenders who have gotten on the wrong side of the law, we find there is also a philosophical issue with the coppers who get caught in the middle when these private agents “violate” the probationers freedom and seek to put them in jail. The private contractors are not “peace officers” under the Idaho code, so they rely on local law enforcement to make arrests. This is supposedly done under some sort of blanket “standing court order.” Even to the coppers, it is confusing.
Our problem with giving ANY private company the authority to manage probation is the potential to keep people in the system in order to make a buck. It has the potential problems associated with private prisons, especially when the contract is worth several million dollars.
A condition of most court-ordered probation includes drug testing via urine analysis. Insiders tell us there are as many as 4,000 offenders in the probation system at any given time. They are required to pay at least $50 (soon to increase) to join the club and also for the cost of the drug tests.
Now we find through public records the Probation Director has incorporated a drug testing company at the same address as the Ada County Probation office. Ada Commishes are aware of the allegations and have launched an investigation into the operation of the office.
Below is the text of two messages the Ada Commishes are examining.
It is time for an expose on Nancy Cladis and Ada County Misdemeanor Probation Services. The Ada County Commissioners have awarded Nancy Cladis the contract to privatize misdemeanor probation enforcement for the last ten years, for millions of taxpayer dollars.
Now, Nancy Cladis is starting her very own drug testing company so that she can refer probationers for drug testing at her company and make double her money! (See new corporation filings with the Idaho Secretary of State dated
December 3, 2010. “Accu-Lab, Inc” 888 N Cole Rd, Nancy Cladis, incorporator C189319. Same address as the probation office!
Is anyone at all monitoring ACMPS? It has come to my attention that just before offenders are to be released from their misdemeanor probation sentence, a “dirty Urinalysis” or two pop up from months in the past. All the U.A.’s are from Global Drug Testing. GDT has a history of hiring under trained staff to handle this part of supervision. U.A.’s are recorded wrong into the system and reported falsely to ACMPS, false positives are increasingly growing especially as offenders reach their sentence satisfaction.
One individual in particular, just before her release off of probation came up “dirty” six times, but these six ua’s were never mentioned prior to the month before her release. She paid the required $35 to have all six retested, and the p.o. only left her alone, after she threatened to take ACMPS back to court and speak with the press. There are thousands of people on misdemeanor probation in Boise. Are the majority of these people going to be violated and put right back onto probation just before their sentences are finished?
Some individuals are tested up to 4 times per week, at a minimum of $10 per test. People do make mistakes, and need to pay for their crimes, but how much can a person, and their
family, be squeezed before ACMPS are satisfied. It is turning into a very dangerous revolving door, but not due to re-offending, it is mostly due to the p.o.’s seeking more revenue and claiming wrongdoing on the part of the probationer.
Offenders can’t find out the (identity of) the secondary company who re-tests the “dirty” u.a.’s, it is all wrapped in mystery, none of their business. What can be done? This privately run organization does not have checks and balances against corruption in place. Offenders are at the behest of the director and her p.o.’s.
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