The California Youth Authority vows changes after a gang member walked away from a prison work detail and began what law enforcement officials believe was a multistate crime spree, the Associated Press reports. Yatau Her escaped while doing charity work in Sacramento and was arrested lats week in Minnesota after the shooting of a sheriff’s deputy. Decisions about who qualifies for community field work now will be made by authority Director Walter Allen III or by his top deputy, instead of by supervisors at individual institutions.
Work and public crews are generally paired with nonprofit organizations to provide services like emergency levee repairs and earthquake assistance, road cleanup, painting, and landscaping. The authority now houses more violent wards convicted of more serious crimes than in the past. Their commitment offenses, gang affiliation, and security levels will play a larger role in deciding who are released to public service. “We hope the new policy will prevent this from happening again, but there’s no guarantees,” said spokeswoman Nancy Lungren.