Of the 20 fugitives apprehended after profiles in a “Most Wanted” feature in the Washington Examiner, nearly half are already out on the street. Six have been released, one is slated to be let go within weeks, and two others are out on bond awaiting trial. Most of the captured fugitives who are now released, or will be soon, were wanted for probation or parole violations, after facing more serious charges. Lenient or inconsistent penalties for those who violate their release conditions means little incentive for parolees to follow the law, said Michael Rushford of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation. “When you announce what the rules are going to be, and someone breaks them and there’s no consequence, word gets out pretty quickly.”
Why a fugitive took off factors into what happens after they’re back in custody, said Leonard Sipes of Washington, D.C.’s Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. When a fugitive on probation or parole is caught, the agency often asks for that supervision to be revoked and the offender to be reincarcerated, Sipes said. Some fugitives don’t flee deliberately to evade authorities, and instead abscond because of family situations or mental health issues. In those cases, Sipes said, the agency might ask for higher levels of supervision, such as GPS monitoring or more drug testing, rather than incarceration.