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Judge orders release of more held on Sentinel warrants

Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 4:53 PM
Last updated Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 1:08 AM
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The judge presiding over civil lawsuits filed against the private probation company Sentinel Offender Ser­vices ordered the release of a dozen people from jail Friday.

Superior Court Judge Daniel J. Craig’s order affects people arrested on accusations that they violated the terms of misdemeanor probation sentences.

Anyone named in the order with unrelated criminal charges pending was to be excluded. Two people listed in Craig’s order face additional felony criminal charges.

On Monday, Craig ordered the release of 17 people held in the Columbia County jail based solely on warrants that Sen­tinel employees obtained.

Friday’s order affects people with Sentinel probation violation warrants issued by Superior Court judges in Richmond County.

Four of those named in Craig’s order were jailed earlier this week, while two have been behind bars for weeks.

According to court records, a woman picked up on a probation violation warrant Sept. 16 was to have been released in November if she could pay $200. She was still in the Richmond County jail Friday afternoon. Her stay has cost taxpayers about $3,000.

In recent weeks, attorney John Long has filed a number of lawsuits against Sentinel, alleging the for-profit company cannot act as a probation service for Superior Courts in Richmond or Columbia counties because it doesn’t have a contract with either.

Some of the plaintiffs were jailed on Sentinel probation violation warrants after their probation had expired, according to the lawsuit and court records.

Sentinel has vigorously disputed the allegations, Craig noted in Friday’s order.

Starting Thursday morning, Sentinel cut all ties with the two Superior Courts because the judges had not signed a contract by Wednesday.

In a second order signed Friday, Craig instructed Sen­tinel to turn over all of its records for probationers from the two Superior Courts. Sen­tinel has until 5 p.m. Jan. 3 to comply.

Craig also instructed Sen­ti­nel to send a letter to Super­ior Court probationers telling them that they must continue to observe provisions of their probation sentences and make any necessary payments for fines and restitution to the Superior Court clerks’ offices.

Sentinel does have a contract with the Richmond Coun­ty State Court. The civil lawsuits do not pertain to people serving probation terms from that court.

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Frank I
Frank I 12/21/12 - 06:24 pm
I think..

I think Sentinal should be required to pay restitution to the counties. $3000 for a $200 balance, yep.. that sounds like Sentinal owes the $2800 to the citizens on that case..

rebellious 12/21/12 - 06:25 pm
This is criminal

and Sentinel should have the pants sued off them. Taking advantage of a segment of the population that is down and out is lower than snail turds. And I am no bleeding heart, but this is beyond scurrilous, lowdown, scum laden and just wrong.

wildman 12/22/12 - 08:11 am

should be out of business. They abuse the power (proven) and should not be allowed to operate in this state.

Techfan 12/22/12 - 08:33 am
Ain't privatization grand?

Ain't privatization grand? Corrections Corporation of America will run all of the nations prisons, if you keep a 90% occupancy rate. Crime rates down? You'll have to make more things illegal or extend sentences for minor crimes. How about 20 to life for speeding? As long as they make a buck at the expense of the little guy's suffering.

soapy_725 12/22/12 - 10:32 am
Great reapplication......

ARC government should be out of business. They abuse the power (proven) and should not be allowed to operate in this state.

Forethought 12/22/12 - 10:48 am
Please explain

In order to obtain an arrest warrant for a citizen, does not a judge have to sign off on it? My question is about the judges. Did they or their staff not review the paperwork that was submitted by this company before signing off? How many more ill gotten warrants have been signed and processed in other areas of the law here in Augusta?

911Guy 03/03/13 - 05:00 pm
Okay, so I just (3/3/13) ran

Okay, so I just (3/3/13) ran guy with one of these warrants? How are they getting them in the system by an actual Georgia LE agency and then they will not honor the warrant? If they are not going to honor the warrant, why enter it?

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