Adult offenders arrested in Washington, D.C., and sent to halfway houses by judges for pretrial detention and misdemeanor sentencing are still escaping in large numbers, says a Washington Post editorial. The problem, says the Post, must be “discouraging to the police, who make arrests only to learn that offenders are back on the streets, as well as disquieting to a public on the receiving end of the offenses.” Through July this year, 142 halfway house detainees have been listed as escapees; as of last week, arrest warrants were still outstanding on 98. Add to that 56 juvenile offenders listed as having escaped from youth group homes. “A city with 154 fugitives from justice is not a city that can call itself safe,” editorializes the paper.
The Post is disturbed that the city’s corrections department says it is “no longer in the halfway house business,” because it contracts with four community organizations to provide halfway houses and beds for 121 inmates. It is from these places that offenders are escaping. “No aspect of this problem can be allowed to go unaddressed,” the Post says. “From corrections to the courts, the public needs answers as to how to end this threat to public safety.”