CAPS client to go

Board solidifies policy that out-of-county clients to do parole elsewhere

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Convicted felon John Glenn Plummer Jr. has a good job and life in Craig, but the community corrections client has to forget about all that.

"I've gotten to the point where he depends on me, now I have to bail on him," Plummer said of ending employment with Elwood Eisenhauer, owner of Ike's Transmission and Auto Repair. "I've just lost my career and ended my advancement."

By Wednesday, Plummer is required to move back to Grand Junction to start a three-year parole. It's a move that will end his steady job and put the 29-year-old in close proximity to the victim's family, a painful reminder of the drunken-driving accident he caused.

It's also a move required by Craig's Community Alternative Placement Service, according to terms set by the Colorado Department of Corrections. It states that people who are convicted in other counties and sentenced to Craig's community corrections program do parole outside of Craig.

Plummer asked CAPS board members about a month ago to keep his case in Craig.

Board members decided at last month's regular meeting to recommend to the DOC that Plummer be allowed to stay. They also decided to recommend to the parole department that future cases -- such as Plummer's -- be considered on a case-by-case basis.

But neither will happen as DOC determined reviewing cases individually would cause inconsistency and create potential lawsuits based on the perception of discrimination.

A representative from DOC in Grand Junction wasn't available for comment Friday.

"I think in order to keep consistency, it's probably better off in the long run," said John Ponikvar, a CAPS board member. "I think there's the opportunity (for CAPS clients) to sue. I hope this doesn't surface again."

Ponikvar said Craig's CAPS is in unique position compared to similar facilities across the state.

Craig's CAPS is the only one that accepts clients from other parts of the state, a tactic it uses to create enough revenue to stay afloat.

But Craig's CAPS also is located in the smallest town, compared to facilities in larger cities on the Front Range and the Western Slope. If every former CAPS client was allowed to stay in Craig, the area may become saturated with convicted felons, Ponikvar said.

"It could skew the population with convicted felons," he said. "We want to minimize the risk to the community."

But Eisenhauer said he's upset about losing his best employee and won't hire any more CAPS clients because of it. Good employees are difficult to find in Craig, he said.

"Now I have to go through the chain," he said, "and find somebody to teach all this stuff to again."

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