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Maryland Implements Digital Check-Ins For Parolees

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The hand reader, at right, on Maryland's new digital check-in stations for people on the states parole and probation rolls, makes sure the offender checking in is actually that person.
Matt Bush
The hand reader, at right, on Maryland's new digital check-in stations for people on the states parole and probation rolls, makes sure the offender checking in is actually that person.

In its search to streamline the parole check-in system, Maryland found an answer in New York City.

Each Maryland state parole office now has computer kiosks where offenders can check in. New York City already does this, and allowed Maryland to use its software at no charge.

Patricia Vale, acting director of the Maryland's division of parole and probation, says hand readers at each kiosk ensure the offender checking in is actually that person.

"No more talking to someone on the phone that, maybe you know it's them, maybe you don't," she says.

Offenders must answer questions at each check-in, such as whether they have been arrested again or if they have attended court mandated meetings at groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. While this makes it easier for the state, Vale says it also makes it easier for offenders.

"Say they live here in Anne Arundel County but work in Montgomery County and they need to report into an office, they can go into any office, such as any of the three offices in Montgomery County," she says.

Only those considered "low-risk" -- about 10 percent of all offenders in Maryland -- can use the kiosks instead of seeing a parole officer.

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