ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Home confinement is supposed to keep criminals off your streets and away from victims, but a Channel 9 investigation found an accused attempted murderer and accused armed carjacker each broke curfew 1,000 times before investigators put them back in jail.
That's 10 times the number of alerts accused killer Bessman Okafor had when, prosecutors said, he killed a key witness while on house arrest.
The Okafor case is what first exposed the problems with Orange County's home confinement system.
Since then, investigative reporter George Spencer has uncovered more suspects on house arrest who were out on the streets.
Jail officials and jail chief Michael Tidwell refused to be interviewed on camera Wednesday as evidence mounts that their program was consistently failing its most basic task.
Joshua Maner allegedly carjacked a vehicle at gunpoint in Pine Hills, robbing the victim of jewelry, shoes and pants.
New documents obtained only by Channel 9 show Maner's home confinement log recorded an astonishing 1,214 curfew alerts with no consequences and no report to a
judge, which comes out to about three potential violations a day.
"It should concern us all, not just for the victim's safety but for the public," said
victims' advocate Laura Williams.
A father who asked that he not be identified said he worries for his teenaged daughter who was stalked and harassed by a defendant monitored on the same program.
"That fear factor would be at a higher level," he said.
Orange County home confinement stopped accepting new defendants last week after a series of 9 Investigates reports, sparking unit re-assignments and three reviews.
Okafor's log showed 109 curfew alerts, but that was nothing compared to the 989 alerts 9 Investigates found for accused attempted murderer Angel Corcino. That averages out to five potential violations a day.
But again, Corcino's judge was apparently never told, just as in Okafor's case.
"When you hear the term
'home confinement,' you think somebody is confined to their home, and you have a false sense of security" said Williams.
Keep in mind, many of those alerts could be false alarms. But many are not. Both Maner and Corcino were eventually re-arrested, just last week – after the home confinement program was under major scruity.
Full Statement from Orange County Corrections:
It’s important to note that electronic alerts do not always equate to curfew violations. For someone who was in the program for more than a year (such as Joshua Maner) it would not be unusual to accumulate that number of electronic alerts. Of the 1,200 alerts over that period, 110 of them lasted long enough (more than 1 hour during the day or more than 30 minutes at night) to merit further inquiry. Of those curfew alerts, 57 were addressed by Community Corrections. Angel Corcino was in the program for more than six months. His monitoring system registered 989 electronic alerts, 53 of them were curfew alerts.
There will not be a one to one relationship between alerts and inquiries and the sheer number of alerts does not warrant a request for revocation. That’s why they are reviewed by staff on a daily basis. Prior to the current zero tolerance policy, this was a judgment call on the part of staff. Maner and Corcino’s revocations were based on recent activity that violated the terms of their home confinements.
Many of your other questions will only be answered once the ongoing investigations are completed. All cases assigned to the program have been reviewed by Community Corrections staff and are being reviewed by court staff as well. The appropriateness or inappropriateness of staff actions will be determined by the results of those investigations.
Allen Moore, JD, APR
Public Information Officer
Public Information and Communications Office
Orange County Corrections Department
Orange County Government, FL