Mt. Vernon Register-News

State News

October 2, 2013

Parolee accused of murder never got ankle monitor

SPRINGFIELD — — An ex-convict accused of killing a man shortly after getting out of prison under Illinois' revamped early-release program hadn't been fitted with an electronic ankle monitor, as he should have been, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

An Illinois Department of Corrections official says an unnamed agency employee failed to follow a Prisoner Review Board order to put 28-year-old Joshua A. Jones on electronic monitoring before setting him free May 3, five months before Jones' scheduled release. Jones was arrested in August for allegedly killing a 22-year-old man outside of a Decatur home.

It's unclear if the electronic monitoring could have prevented the Aug. 15 fatal shooting of Marvin E. Perry, if Jones is responsible, as prosecutors contend. But it raises questions about the handling of a parolee under the early-release program Gov. Pat Quinn approved last year to replace a troubled previous program that almost cost him the 2010 election.

Jones was released under the state's new early-release program for nonviolent criminals after he served 19 months of a four-year sentence for dealing drugs. Under the terms of his release, the Prisoner Review Board ordered Jones to submit to electronic monitoring for six months and to substance abuse counseling, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request. A board spokesman didn't respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Tom Shaer, a corrections department spokesman, said in a statement that the department began investigating the case in August and determined that one of its parole workers failed to carry out the electronic monitoring order. He said "disciplinary action is being pursued" against the worker, but that he couldn't comment further about it.

Shaer said an employee lapse like this "simply does not happen ... We have no record of it happening for years prior to the Jones parole." He said the corrections department doesn't have a "systemic problem" with its procedures, but would continue focusing on following them properly.

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