More Felons Free In Wichita Co.

Documents obtained by Newschannel 6 show a sharp increase in the number of inmates granted parole in Wichita County in 2012.

170 inmates were paroled in 2012, compared to just 115 in 2011. To put this number into context: there were only 105 parolees in 2010, which means 2010-2011 only increased by ten parolees, but from 2011-2012, it increased by 55.

Public Information Officer for The Texas Department of Pardons and Paroles Harry Battson said this change is common. "The trend over the past several years has been for more parole to be granted and less parole to be revoked."

Battson said the increase means success for the Parole Board. He attributes the change to the Parole Guidelines board members use, and better re-integration programs for parolees.

"The number of people returning to prison after they've been released, and that's whether on parole or otherwise, is down to 24-percent, which is down several percentage points from where it's been in the past," said Battson.

However, Sheriff David Duke said there has also been an increase this year in the number of arrests deputies have made for parole violations.

"We have seen an increase in the number of parole absconders that just don't want to do anything, don't want to cooperate, just want to take off... and eventually they get caught doing other crimes," said Duke.

Duke added that Wichita County has sent more criminals to prison over the last few years as well. The increase in probation violation arrests has not taken a toll on the Sheriff's Office resources, according to Duke.