It has been discovered that our Payson Public Library is being used as an office for convicted state prison felons who are required to see their assigned parole officer. These visits occur on the second and fourth Thursday of the month for 2-3 hours (9 a.m. to 11 a.m. or noon). The library study rooms are being used (at no town, county, or library reimbursement) by the Arizona State Parole Department.
The study rooms are located directly behind the public use computer tables, approximately three feet from the rooms. This computer use area has high usage by seniors, teenagers, and adults who are accompanied by their children.
The parolees’ checking in to see their parole officer can run the gambit of convicted sex offenders, violent criminals, and hard drug users. It is a documented fact that this population has a high incidence of hepatitis, AIDS, and STDs. Some have mental or emotional problems and can be subject to violent outbursts.
The parolees who are there to visit a parole officer must congregate and wait using our facility.
The potential problems, dangers and liability of allowing this to occur should be apparent. I think that the Arizona State Parole Board can well afford to contract for an appropriate part-time use, office location. Examples: the Payson Police Department public meeting office, Gila County Probation Department. Using and allowing our public library for such official parole duty’s demonstrates a severe lack of good judgement.
I have made our town council, county supervisor, and police department aware of this situation. Payson awaits their actions on our community’s safety. In the meantime, library users should use caution and be aware.