Bombshell report ignored by media: Escaped offenders have 'extensive and serious criminal histories'

The majority (85.7%) of individuals sentenced for an escape offense and released were rearrested during an eight-year follow-up period, which was higher than individuals sentenced for any other type of offense (49%).

Individuals sentenced for escape offenses had extensive and serious criminal histories.

As the director of public information for the Maryland Department of Public Safety for 14 years (a combined billion-dollar law enforcement and correctional agency), I proactively publicized escapes, the vast majority of which were from prerelease centers.

When asked by the media if the person was a danger to the community, I always answered “yes” based on criminal history. Very few people in state prisons are there for nonviolent crimes. 63 percent of people are incarcerated for violent offenses, it’s higher for male inmates. If you include criminal history, it’s even higher.

There were those within state government (and my own agency) who asked if it was really necessary to publicize all escapees. My response was that if you didn’t, and the person committed a violent crime, we would be endlessly criticized. It was a public safety “and” a public relations issue. Transparency was in our best interest.

Below is a report from The United States Sentencing Commission addressing escapes from federal correctional facilities. It should be noted that state and federal prison systems are distinctively different; states hold mostly violent offenders (especially when you consider criminal histories) whereas the federal system holds mostly major drug dealers and immigration offenders.

Do Parole And Probation Agencies Publicize Escapes?

It should also be noted that there are plenty of “escapes” from federal and state parole and probation agencies where the offender moved without authorization or refused to report to their agent.

The next step for The United States Sentencing Commission is to replicate their study of those “escaping” from community supervision.

If you refuse to comply with the terms of parole or probation, that suggests that you are reengaging in criminal activity. I’m guessing that “escapes” from community supervision (and that includes pretrial) are rarely (never?) publicized. Considering the data below, that should be reconsidered.

FEDERAL ESCAPE OFFENSESUNITED STATES SENTENCING COMMISSION

Individuals sentenced for escape offenses had extensive and serious criminal histories.

More than half (54.1%) were in the two most serious Criminal History Categories compared to one-fifth (21.1%) of U.S. citizens sentenced in Criminal History Category V (7.3%) and Criminal History Category VI (13.8%). Editor’s note-how the federal system classifies the seriousness of current and past criminal charges.

Two-thirds (67.0%) had a prior conviction for a violent offense, nearly double that of other sentenced U.S. citizens (38.1%).

Approximately two-thirds (65.3%) were originally sentenced for a firearms offense (33.4%) or a drug trafficking offense (31.9%).

Approximately one-quarter (26.5%) had at least one prior conviction for escape.

Most federal escapes were from non-secure custody. The majority (89.0%) of individuals escaped from a Residential Reentry Center (i.e., a halfway house).

The median length of time that individuals sentenced for escape offenses remained at large was one month.

More than one-third (36.2%) were arrested for or alleged to have committed a crime while at large; one-fifth (20.8%) of those crimes were violent.

More than one-third (35.1%) were apprehended after concerted efforts by law enforcement. Approximately one-fifth (22.2%) were identified after being arrested for a new crime.

Nearly all (99.2%) individuals sentenced for an escape offense received a sentence of imprisonment. The average term of imprisonment was 12 months.

The majority (85.7%) of individuals sentenced for an escape offense and released in 2010 were rearrested during an eight-year follow-up period, which was higher than individuals sentenced for any other type of federal offense (see figure below). By comparison, one-half (49.2%) of other individuals released in 2010 were rearrested during the same time period.

Individuals sentenced for escape offenses were rearrested sooner after release compared to other sentenced individuals. Their median time to rearrest was ten months, compared to 19 months for the remaining 2010 cohort.



 

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