Nearly 10 Percent of All Halfway House Escapes Comes From DC Facility

News4, Washington

A Washington, D.C., halfway house, intended to help imprisoned men transition back to freedom, is under scrutiny for an outsized number of inmates who illegally leave the facility each year.

An investigation by the News4 I-Team revealed nearly one in 10 of what federal authorities call escapes or untimely returns by halfway house inmates occurs from Hope Village, the District’s only such facility for men.

A review of federal prison records for the past few years shows approximately 1,100 inmates nationwide fail to return at scheduled times, or at all, to federal halfway houses in the United States. Federal authorities consider that an escape, or walkaway.

Hope Village accounted for about 10 percent of those cases in 2016 and 2017, though it only accounted for 3 percent of the federal halfway house population, according to a News4 analysis. Those figures slightly improved in 2018, federal records show.

In several instances, inmates who have wrongly left Hope Village have later been implicated in crimes, including at least two recent cases in which escapees are accused of committing murder after fleeing the facility.

Hope Village declined an interview with News4 but defended its record in a written statement, saying it “takes public safety and the accountability of our returning citizens seriously,” properly tracks and verifies inmates’ whereabouts and reports all instances in which someone fails to return on time.

But the high number of departures has captured the attention of federal authorities, who are stepping up prosecutions of escape cases while the Federal Bureau of Prisons contemplates the future of Hope Village’s contract.

Click here to read more.