Opinion

Commentary: Parole system failed to protect Jaycee Dugard

Though it contained little new information, the state inspector general's report on Phillip Garrido's parole supervision still is stunning. Incompetence in the oversight of the man who is accused of kidnapping Jaycee Lee Dugard, and holding her captive for 18 years, defies belief.

We agree with most of the report's recommendations on actions to prevent this kind of outrage from happening again. However, we think there's one key issue that both the report -- and the corrections system -- doesn't address.

Garrido was supervised by federal and Nevada parole agents from 1988 to 1999, after he was released from prison for a kidnapping and rape in Nevada. We still know very little about that time. The California corrections system entered the picture only in 1999, when Garrido's parole was taken over by California through an interstate compact.

Inspector General David R. Shaw's report does an excellent job of recounting the surreal succession of opportunities parole agents missed to discover that Dugard was being held captive.

It found that parole agents properly supervised Garrido in just 12 of 123 months in the past decade. The original agent handling Garrido's case never read his file, which described the large backyard (the place we now know housed a secret compound).

Despite 60 visits to the home, no parole agents noticed "clearly visible utility lines" that ran from the house to a carport in the backyard.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fresno Bee.

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