Calif. tests new procedures for parole agents

SACRAMENTO -- California parole officials are beginning to test more intensive monitoring of parolees in four counties.

Selected parole agents in Kern, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Sonoma counties started supervising 48 parolees, down from the usual 70 offenders, corrections officials said Tuesday. They say the lower caseloads will increase the amount of attention they can devote to each parolee.

The new policy also requires agents to meet with parolees' family members, drug counselors and prospective employers or job-training agencies before and after they are released from prison. The idea is to develop goals for individual parolees.

Agents have been criticized for poor supervision in two cases involving convicted sex offenders who are suspected of kidnapping or killing young girls.

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