Audrain County Sheriff Matt Oller is making his opinion known about Governor Mike Parson’s plan to downsize Missouri prison systems.
In an open letter to Audrain County residents from the sheriff’s office Facebook page on Sunday, Oller wrote the state of affairs that our justice system is in is no laughing matter.
Dear Audrain County residents –
As your Sheriff, I think this is something you should know.
This article is from 5 hours ago.
As your Sheriff, I know over the past weeks, it seems that you’ve heard about many Missouri Sheriffs talking about the failures of the Missouri Department of Corrections. My neighbor, Sheriff Clay Chism in Callaway County has pointed out specific, and frightening examples. Here in Audrain County, we have our own examples, as I’m sure every Missouri Sheriff does. Most of us have just trudged on with our duties and not been too public about it, hoping the legislature will intervene to right the listing ship.
Sheriffs have outlined DOC failures more than once – failures to pay Missouri County Sheriffs the well over $30M (Audrain County being owed around $250k) they owe for housing state inmates and failures to return dangerous parole violators to prison causing clear and real threats to public safety.
Many Sheriffs have repeatedly stated that it’s NOT the rank and file DOC and P&P members that are the root problem. We’ve repeatedly stated that Jefferson City bureaucrats are the issue and this article serves to prove that point.
According to the Governor, his master plan is FURTHER GUT the already bare bones ability of DOC to incarcerate criminals by further eliminating 1700+ inmate beds after the legislature has recommended exactly the opposite.
By the way- the legislature are the people you and I voted for to be OUR voices in Jefferson City. For us in Audrain County, it’s Senator Jeanie Riddle and Rep Kent Haden. I’ve spoken with both about numerous issues over the past 3+ years and am confident they know the issues and are willing to take the word of their constituents and their Sheriffs about the REAL issues we face. They have been an effective voice for us.
Regardless, what does this latest nonsense mean?
That means a further 1700+ criminals placed on probation or parole – placed in a system that isn’t staffed well enough to effectively handle the CURRENT LOAD of criminals they supervise – Criminals will be placed in a system that is nearly impotent to hold them accountable – it means criminals that have victimized you and your family and neighbors never seeing the inside of a prison after being sentenced to do so by your local courts!
I have been fairly quiet about this to this point, but that’s over.
I’m telling you the state of affairs that our justice system is in is no laughing matter. I’m furious by the fact that our local courts hand down sentences for crimes committed against our residents and our communities and Jefferson City basically thumbs their noses at them by refusing to carry out sentences handed down to criminals, and this only serves to make it worse.
This isn’t the way this is supposed to work. For far too many years the local courts have handed down sentences and the Board of Probation and Parole have opened the doors before it was time. They have been given the keys to the doors by the Governor and have been accountable to no one. Now the Governor himself is helping them make sure there’s no truth in sentencing and virtually no accountability for criminals in Missouri. What’s more disappointing in all of this is the Governor served as a Sheriff of a rural Missouri County many years ago.
As your Sheriff, I have 0 legislative authority, but I do have a voice, and as I see it, I’m trying to be a voice of reason. A voice who speaks from experience by telling you that it seems RIDICULOUS to think that further handcuffing and hamstringing an already hobbled system is a dangerous road to travel. I would urge you to research the issues and make your own conclusions, and make your wishes known to your legislators.
Sheriff Matt Oller