Churches A Key Part In Fugitive Safe Surrender Program


Casey Hennacy, 20, went to an Akron church last year to surrender on drug and theft charges because she didn’t want to give birth behind bars only to have the baby taken away. The Fugitive Safe Surrender program, launched in Cleveland in 2005, provided Hennacy with a safe setting to right her wrongs, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer. A new study by Kent State University researchers sheds light on what led Hennacy and other former fugitives to stop running. Of the thousands of people who participated in the program across the U.S., about 80 percent said having the site at a church played an important role in their decisions to give up hiding.

The study, based partly on exit surveys with the fugitives, supports what community leaders already have said: Fugitive Safe Surrender works. The fugitives had difficulties finding jobs and seeking college degrees. Fifty-one percent didn’t work at a job with a paycheck. Fifty-three percent graduated from high school, but only 16 percent had anything more than that. This month in Detroit, a record 6,587 fugitives surrendered in the program. Officials had anticipated 1,500. In all, 16,000 cases have been resolved in nine cities.


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