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2 lawsuits filed against Sentinel Offender Services

Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 1:27 PM
Last updated Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 12:40 AM
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Two lawsuits have been filed against an Augusta-area private probation company, one of them a class-action lawsuit.



The class-action suit against Sentinel Offender Services was filed by Jacob Martin Glover for himself and all others convicted of misdemeanor offenses who were sentenced to probation in Columbia County.

According to the clerk of the Columbia County Commission, the commission has not approved any contract with Sentinel to provide probation services for people convicted of misdemeanor crimes in Columbia County Superior Court.

If there is no contract, Glover’s lawsuit alleges, Sentinel cannot legally take money from him or anyone else.

Attorney John Long cites the Georgia statutes that lay out how local governments and courts can create their own probation departments or hire private firms to provide probationary services.

The state government provides such service only for people convicted of felony crimes.

The law says a private probation company is hired with the authorization of the chief judge of the court and by a contract approved by the local governing body.

The lawsuit seeks to recover all the money Glover paid in probation fees to Sentinel, $39 a month, and the money paid by all other members of the class, in addition to 7 percent interest and attorney fees.

The lawsuit, filed Nov. 20, specifically excludes misdemeanor probationers who were jailed based on allegations by Sentinel employees that they violated the terms of their probation.

The second lawsuit against Sentinel, filed Monday, alleges that Sentinel employees caused the illegal arrest and imprisonment of Willie James Gilyard.

Gilyard was convicted in October 2001 and sentenced to probation, which concluded Oct. 16, 2008.

Although Gilyard’s probation had ended, a Sentinel officer signed an affidavit alleging that Gilyard violated his probation because he did not report to the Sentinel office in December 2009. Based on the sworn statement, Judge Michael N. Annis signed a warrant for Gilyard’s arrest.

Gilyard was arrested and jailed July 28, 2010. The next day, he had a medical emergency and was taken to a hospital, according to the lawsuit.

Gilyard was arrested a second time, on Sept. 15, based on another Sentinel petition. He was jailed for 40 days. Because of the second incarceration, Gilyard lost his job, according to the lawsuit.

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David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 12/06/12 - 02:09 pm
0
2
CC failed to "secure a

CC failed to "secure a contract" and the statute clearly says for them to lawfully use a private probationing operation, the commission must approve a contract with the operation. I don't necessarily see where the plaintiff is due a refund however. The judge will have the authorization, after proper probation company procurement, to reassign the probationers to the new company and although the "time served" principle can and should be applied so that their probationary periods are not extended unjustly, the money they pay into it is still due in its entirety imho.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 12/06/12 - 02:29 pm
2
1
America, proudly ignoring the

America, proudly ignoring the rule of law everyday! (see above post for example)

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 12/06/12 - 03:18 pm
0
1
I don't think county

I don't think county government is proud of acting illegally in this instance Omnomnom. They look foolish for not following procedure and yet, they oblige LEO's with authority to ticket folks for not paying taxes on their vehicle tag (procedure).

single parent
395
Points
single parent 12/06/12 - 04:04 pm
4
1
Sentinel Offender Services

Does not make sense to have that service in the first place, they do nothing but harrass you and DO NOT do any monitoring service. But yet they are allowed to charge the defendant a fee for monitoring, that should be the crime in itself! I have advised many young and old glued to that ridiculous system and many for just and innocent blunder. Then get violated because they did not pay a fee for something that was never had in the first place.
The defendants go into a probation office to report to a person and then pay a fee for a service? Seems that money would be well needed by our own people in the system. Why go in to the probation office and they have nothing to do with you? Then some guy/girl calls you from an 800 number threatening you about that fee, although the matter of reporting never arises! So that trickles down to the next level, no rehab and more people sayiung the heck with it. Bench warrants are then issued .REALLY?

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/06/12 - 05:35 pm
4
1
Agree completely with single

Agree completely with single parent. Probation services are a waste of money, private or otherwise. It's all about money. The system will never work the way it is handled now. And since the city is now obsessed with social workers, the money could be used elsewhere or in some other way. The current system is self-serving.

GiantsAllDay
10295
Points
GiantsAllDay 12/06/12 - 07:16 pm
7
1
Privatizing the probation

Privatizing the probation system and the prisons was one of the worst ideas by mankind ever. Please read the following article carefully. Then ask yourself this question: do you think that sentinel would be in favor of decriminalizing marijuana? Is it in their economic interests? California's youth (<24 yrs old) crime rate dropped 20% after they decriminalized marijuana. I'm not talking just pot or other drugs, I'M TALKING ABOUT ALL CRIME RATE! I believe that private firms such as sentinel are a scam and what's worse ruins the lives of the innocent and "light" offenders

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/30/1166162/-Decriminalization-of-m...

Young Fred
19382
Points
Young Fred 12/07/12 - 08:15 am
5
1
I've been following this

I've been following this issue for awhile. The Metro broke this story a couple weeks ago, and I for one am glad for the scrutiny.

But, do you think the Metro, or the AC would have written about the outrages committed by the gov't bureaucracy when they were administering probation services? Don't bet the farm on it!!!

Why? Because private bebad, bigbrother begood.

JRC2024
9983
Points
JRC2024 12/07/12 - 08:41 am
1
2
Just do not act stupid and

Just do not act stupid and you will not be seeing the probation officer. Obey the law. Patty P it has always and will always be about the money ie: parking tickets speeding tickets and such. Ride around now and notice the two motorcycles using laser. Go to Martintown Rd off I20 and see the State Patrol and North Augusta sitting in the median all hours of the day. Go to the dump and see the state guy checking to see if you have a fire extinguisher and a manifest where you have been (None of these is a $100.00 fine). See the officers hiding in the bushes with radar. It is about the money. All of this increases at the end of the month.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/07/12 - 09:39 am
2
0
JCR2024

The point is....probation is SUPPOSED to be a monitoring system. Apparently, according to single parent and my own observations, they don't monitor at all. They simply collect a fee every month. What I'm saying is that instead of someone simply collecting a fee, and with city leaders wanting more social workers instead of law ENFORCEMENT, find better use of the fees via a different system altogether. And JRC, tell me what the fees collected from speeding tickets goes to? What is it used for later? Then tell me what the fees for probation goes to.

LillyfromtheMills
14058
Points
LillyfromtheMills 12/07/12 - 11:14 am
2
1
Sentinel

A little story about my experience with Sentinel: years ago my son went to prison for selling pot. When he got out we went to the probation office to set everything up. The officer said to me, if he follows the rules – he has a clear shot to make it, he has nothing outstanding. He gets his driver’s license and all the classes required (which is very expensive), he goes out and gets a job. He is merrily working at his job and Richmond Co police (sp) plucks him off his job into the county jail. My son calls and tells me he’s in jail on a probation violation. I go to the probation office and the officer says he has nothing outstanding. I go downtown and same thing, but they say try Sentinel. I go to Sentinel and the man says he owes $125. I say if I give you $125, I can walk across the street and get him and he said yes and I did. I knew there was an error in the system, but it was worth $125 to get my son back on his job! I also wrote one of our judges to make them aware of this situation.

LillyfromtheMills
14058
Points
LillyfromtheMills 12/07/12 - 11:30 am
1
0
Monitoring

Richmond Co did monitor my child. He had to report, pay his fine and pass a drug test.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/07/12 - 11:48 am
2
1
Lilly.....The great majority

Lilly.....The great majority of people on probation that I know are NOT monitored. It's the very same issue with the agency that supposedly monitors people who wear an ankle bracelet. They DO NOT monitor.

rebellious
21419
Points
rebellious 12/07/12 - 12:28 pm
2
0
The Issue

Is not the monitoring. It is the illicit way Sentinel uses their powers to get money from those most needing a leg up. Mr. Gilyards story in the article is an excellent example of how this company kicks those already down and trying to pull themselvesup by their bootstraps. I know young men caught in this trap who are on the lamb from Sentinel (dba RCSO) to try and keep their job so they can earn the money to pay these crooks.

I assure you I am no bleeding heart, but this system is a Catch 22 for the recently probated offenders and serves to push them back to jail or crime. Shameful!!

Crispy 77
3
Points
Crispy 77 12/07/12 - 01:10 pm
1
1
Sentinel

My ex-boyfriend has probation at the Columbia County office. Apparently the way to get by on your probation is to get chummy with the "probation" officers there and friend them on Facebook. Then they will advise you on how to get around your community service and skip your AA meetings. There is a definite problem in the Sentinel system.

LillyfromtheMills
14058
Points
LillyfromtheMills 12/07/12 - 01:22 pm
0
1
Rebel is right!

These guys coming out of prison have to pay huge, I mean huge costs to even get back on the streets and they are trying to support their wife and kids - no money - they drive w/out a license - and on and on and on. IT'S ALMOST LIKE THEY ARE SET UP TO FAIL!!!!

LillyfromtheMills
14058
Points
LillyfromtheMills 12/07/12 - 01:47 pm
0
1
Rebel - let's start a charity

among our friends. 10 excons we will sponsor - something different has to be done!

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/07/12 - 01:47 pm
3
1
Well what other option do

Well what other option do they have besides probation? I'm assuming jail time for whatever it is they did wrong. Seems like if you stay out of trouble you wouldn't have to worry about Sentinel in the first place. Or perhaps the judges can be more creative with the so-called 'punishment'.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/07/12 - 04:22 pm
1
1
Anytime you mention 'punishment'....

you get a dislike. Typical.

The1Justice
58
Points
The1Justice 12/07/12 - 06:23 pm
1
0
how about follow the law and
Unpublished

how about follow the law and you wouldnt have to worry about paying probation. Ever give that idea a thought? I mean I have gone 28 years without ever being arrested been peer pressured and had horrible parents, but there is a thing called common sense. Use it once in awhile and you wouldnt have to worry about having to pay fines or goto jail. Everyone has common sense you are born with it. It is people's choice to break the law not Sentinel's fault, not the judges fault, not even the parents fault. It is the fault of the person who caused their own self to get into trouble.

myfather15
55844
Points
myfather15 12/08/12 - 10:48 am
1
0
Convicted felons getting out

Convicted felons getting out of prison and having a hard time? Oooooh the humanity!!! We must CHANGE!!!!

Wait, I've never committed a felony in my entire life, never sold the first piece of dope, and haven't spent the first day in prison and I HAVE A HARD TIME IN LIFE!!! Get over your pathetic misplaced sympathy!! How about putting your concern where it belongs, which is telling people to act like decent, honorable citizens and the chances are they won't have to deal with a probation or parole officer their entire lives, just like myself and HUNDREDS of people I know personally.

But wait, on one hand I agree with you guys. We do need to get rid of probation and I do believe it's a waste of time. I also believe the PRIVATE probation services are simply in it for the money. So lets get rid of probation all together and let them reap what they sow. Let them sit in prison or county jail (for misdemeaners) their entire sentence.

I also suggest some of you bleeding hearts out there attend the next misdemeaner or felony court in your County. You should actually do this; walk around and ask the defendants if they would rather receive probation for their crimes, or actually serve the entire sentence in custody. Hhhhhhmmm, I wonder what answer you will get? Doesn't take a rocket science. This guy sueing is just another idiot who is trying to beat the system to get his money back. Like someone else said, does the County not having a contract mean he shouldn't have paid those fines? No, the money was still owed, period.

Yes, I've been in law enforcement for 15 years and I have indeed seen mistakes made by private and State government probation where people had probation violation warrants issued for them, when they weren't in violation. Anytime you have human beings involved in something, there shall be human error, no system in this world is perfect. So, lets take some of the error away and make people actually answer HARD for their crimes with spending time. Lets do away with Judges being allowed to probate the sentence. Then you shall see just have many people would LOVE to be on probation, with or without a contract by the County. Now, let the thumbs down begin!! Why? Because people can't and won't tolerate the truth now days.

II Timothy 3:4 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;"

LillyfromtheMills
14058
Points
LillyfromtheMills 12/08/12 - 11:31 am
0
0
I've never even had a speeding ticket

and I agree w/you MF15

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/08/12 - 01:17 pm
0
0
I agree with MF15. I also

I agree with MF15. I also think there are some kinks that need to be worked out with the present system. But I also think that probation sentencing is too light for certain crimes and serves no purpose whatsoever for some.

GiantsAllDay
10295
Points
GiantsAllDay 12/08/12 - 11:45 pm
0
0
Whoa

The US has the highest incarceration rate in the ENTIRE WORD, BY A LONG SHOT!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate
Georgia's rate in is HIGHER THAN THE US RATE AND IS IN FACT #8 IN THE COUNTRY!!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_incarceration_rate

Why do you think this is? I have my ideas but would like to hear from others. MF/15 would like to more than DOUBLE Georgia's rate? Holy CRAP!!

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/08/12 - 11:57 pm
0
0
If the answer isn't

If the answer isn't incarceration, then what is it? I hope people don't think just NOT punishing people for assault, burglary, rape, etc etc is the answer.

jamesles
6
Points
jamesles 05/03/13 - 09:57 am
0
0
Need Help in Valdosta Ga....

The sentinel probation service down here is so messed up i have been trying 2 get in touch with the right people but havent had any luck. the lowndes county jail is so overcrowded by this i was recently locked up 4 not starting a class in 15 days. they knew that i did not have a job.. they released me to no job again and gave me 10 days to start the class i dont have the money so theyre gonna lock me back on 04/19/13 so please send Mr Long or someone this way...

jamesles
6
Points
jamesles 04/11/13 - 01:49 pm
0
0
Need Help in Valdosta Ga....

The sentinel probation service down here is so messed up i have been trying 2 get in touch with the right people but havent had any luck. the lowndes county jail is so overcrowded by this i was recently locked up 4 not starting a class in 15 days. they knew that i did not have a job.. they released me to no job again and gave me 10 days to start the class i dont have the money so theyre gonna lock me back on 04/19/13 so please send Mr Long or someone this way...

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