No one checks to see if the inmates actually go to work.
By PATRICIA MEADE
VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- As long as Terrance V. Rudolph returned to the Mahoning County Jail when due each day after work, no one verified where he'd been.
The flaw in the inmates' work release "honor system," as Sheriff Randall A. Wellington described it, was exposed this week with Rudolph's arrest on charges of domestic violence, child endangering and violation of a protection order.
Because of a previous domestic violence conviction in March -- the reason Rudolph is in jail -- the new charge is a felony.
The 29-year-old Mineral Springs Road man was to be arraigned today in municipal court.
He has been in jail since Feb. 19, charged with violating a protection order that required him to stay away from his ex-girlfriend.
Rudolph is now accused of not going to work Monday but showing up at his ex-girlfriend's apartment on Eastway Drive about 9:30 a.m. and beating her, something she told police happened a lot during her recent pregnancy.
The 22-year-old woman told Patrolman Tony Tulipano at St. Elizabeth Health Center that, during the attack, she dropped her 2-month-old baby girl.
The woman said Rudolph, who had punched her in the face, kicked her sides and legs when she knelt down to grab the baby, crying on the floor.
Patrolman Charles Swanson, in charge of the investigation, said the infant is doing fine.
Police did not have to hunt for Rudolph to arrest him on the new charges -- he returned to the jail Monday as required, Swanson said.
Once notified by police of what happened, Municipal Judge Elizabeth A. Kobly revoked Rudolph's work release privileges.
On March 18, Rudolph had pleaded no contest to domestic violence and violating the protection order issued two months' earlier by common pleas Judge Beth A. Smith.
Judge Kobly sentenced him to 180 days in jail, giving credit for 30 days already served.
On March 26, Judge Kobly granted Rudolph work release privileges, allowing him to work from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for R. Faison Plumbing & amp; Heating in Hubbard. A letter from the company in the jail file shows Faison agreed to pay Rudolph $18.75 per hour.
Faison said Rudolph called twice Monday, saying he had car trouble and would be late for work. Faison, who had business in Warren, doesn't know if Rudolph showed at all and learned of the arrest from his nephew, Lt. Howard Faison, who works at the jail.
No attendance check
Wellington said deputies record when inmates leave for court-authorized work and when they return, nothing more. Deputies also check to make sure the inmates arrive back in good shape, that is, not drunk.
No one at the jail, for example, requires that inmates produce pay stubs to verify their employment, Wellington said.
The sheriff suggested that maybe the municipal judges have a system for monitoring those to whom work release privileges have been granted.
He said he always assumed that the court required proof of employment and monitored it.
Judge Kobly assumed the jail did the monitoring.
The judge said she revokes work privileges when informed that inmates are not going to work or doing things they shouldn't be doing while out of jail.
Someone, the judge said, should monitor the work release program, otherwise, "there's room for abuse."
Aside from the new charges, Rudolph has other problems, including owing municipal court $1,330 in past-due fines for his previous convictions. Last December, he was convicted of his third loud music offense.
He received 60 days in jail, all but five suspended, 30 days house arrest, $760 in fines and costs and two years' probation.
Judge Robert P. Milich was notified in March of Rudolph's domestic violence conviction and records show a hearing was scheduled for April 16.
Records don't show that any action took place.
A new domestic violence conviction could result in yet another probation violation.