Whether you escape from a secure prison or an open work-release center, it’s still considered an escape. And the state of Florida knows a thing or two about these different manners of supervision avoidance. According to the Sun-Sentinel, about 30,000 offenders have escaped supervision of one form or another, since the 1970s.
Most of these escapees have walked away from work release programs and work camps, or simply stopped checking in with their probation officer. But, 5,600 of them were initially convicted of a violent offense, so the search for them continues.
According to the department of corrections, the search for these offenders doesn’t stop simply because the years have passed. There never comes a point where the agency gives up, though one has to wonder how hard they’re actually looking.
The department is said to make checks of the probation systems, jails, hospitals, and death records. They also check former addresses, work places, and listed family and friends. They post photos of the escaped offenders on their website and ask the public for any tips.
But, if you are able to lay low for several years without getting caught, chances are you know how to stay under the radar.
“Some of these are like Jean Valjean from Les Miserables, living in the community, leading conventional lives and are not a threat to anyone. And we know that because they are not being re-arrested,” says criminal justice expert Martin Horn from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Some have leapt fences and others just walked away. But they all knew they were breaking the law, so the smart ones wouldn’t do anything to bring attention to their freedom, or risk being sent back to prison with additional years tacked on.
Frederick Barrett managed to hide out for 32 years and was eventually arrested last year when he was located in a remote Colorado cabin. He was a convicted murderer when he escaped prison during a power outage. He beat and drown his “traveling companion,” and then went into hiding. But his story is the exception.
All 30,000 or so of these escapees have to live with the threat of re-arrest for the rest of their lives, or until they are caught or turn themselves in. It’s similar to having an outstanding warrant for your arrest and can make day to day living very stressful.
If you have a warrant out for your arrest and are concerned about what it could mean for your future, contact our offices today for a free consultation and to discuss your options.