IMPD plans to closely track high-risk ex-offenders

Plan part of anti-crime stategy

INDIANAPOLIS - Police have a new plan to track and target high-risk offenders returning to Indianapolis streets from the prison system.

Officials with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department hope the plan will reduce homicides and violent offenders, but not everyone is on board with the program.

Experts said as many as 5,000 to 8,000 offenders will come out of Indiana prisons and return to the streets of Indianapolis this year.

Officials with IMPD have already started collecting data on the most violent and the most frequent offenders. They plan to target those offenders with close scrutiny upon their release.

"We want to look for those individuals, whether it's a crime against an individual or potentially murder and we're going to have to start monitoring them closely," Public Safety Director Troy Riggs said.

The database and close supervision is a new tactic for the police department to try and reduce the highest murder rate in the past seven years.

But those who have felt the weight of an intrusive monitoring program believe that while it may make the general public feel better, it won't reduce crime.

"I've watched good women go back to prison for things that just don't make any sense to me. And they're afraid and they don't know what else to do. And they just revert back to that old lifestyle because that's all they know how to do," ex-offender Bonnie Zito said.

Public safety officials admit that a system of monitoring ex-offenders closely will cost money and tie up valuable police resources, but they argue the same could be said for programs that try to remove ex-offenders away from a life of crime.

The decision to track some offenders as opposed to giving them services is a critical one. Whether or not they get help, more than 90 percent of offenders will eventually be released from prison, officials said.

Follow Jack Rinehart on Twitter: @jackrinehart6

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