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Parole Diaries: Parolees try to manipulate agents, hide their secrets

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

The parole officers are following three new parolees tonight on TV One's Parole Diaries, and they are not exactly model clients.

Parole Diaries continues tonight on TV One, following three new parolees.

Can the parole officers help their clients—parolees—make it on the outside?

Over 1.5 million Americans are incarcerated in the U.S; over half end up on parole. If they break a rule, however, they can go back to prison. It is up to the parole agents to determine if parolees are following the rules on the outside. Not easy, and not for the faint of heart.

This week, Parole Agent Denise Jackson is dealing with Maggie Hardley, a 51-year-old woman who has been in and out of prison most of her adult life, and whose biggest plan at the moment is to divorce her husband.

“I call her Miss Pretty because of all the men troubles she’s been getting’ herself into; she’s a wild card,” Jackson says.

She’s also getting a random drug test, and it could be the end of the road for her if she tests positive.

Parole Agent Gerald Carter supervises sex offenders. This week, he is dealing with 37-year-old Thomas Calbert, who is staying in a homeless shelter. Carter is concerned about how much contact he is having with children. According to Calbert, any contact he has with kids is incidental, and he has nothing to do with them. Sex offenders cannot stay within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare, playground or park.

“He tries,” Carter says, “that’s pretty much all I can give him credit for, he does try. Thomas has some mental health issues and he makes mistakes,” Carter says. “The only problem is that those mistakes land him in prison.”

One in eight prisoners in the U.S. has serious mental health issues; Thomas has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Parole Agent Justin Bennett is visiting 27-year-old parolee Tamra Aills, who is seven months pregnant with her fourth child. It is their initial interview. Most of Agent Bennett’s clients have multiple children; most female parolees have at least one child.

“My main focus is the children," Agent Bennett explains. "I’m going to make sure the children are in a good environment, and that these kids don’t have to worry about mom leaving again, or being taken away.”

As the show moves forward, the parolees begin to show why parole agents always have to be on guard against manipulation. Maggie Hardley tries to convince Agent Jackson she does nothing, not even smoke or drink, even after testing positive for multiple substances; Thomas Calbert shows up at Agent Jackson’s office with “his” prescription, but it does not have his name on it; and Agent Bennett finds Tamra Aills' phone has been disconnected when he tries to check up on her. Will any of these parolees cross the line with their agents?

Find out tonight, September 19, on Parole Diaries.

Parole Diaries airs on TV One Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. (ET).

UPDATE: Agents care but keep it tough, real

Image: Towers Productions, LLC

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