How have 7 inmates been able to walk away from work assignments in eastern Idaho this year?
POCATELLO — East Idaho has a problem with inmates walking away while on work assignments and now the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center has stopped work-crew activities.
Since the beginning of the year, seven inmates have walked away from their work assignment. Six were eventually apprehended but one still has not been recaptured.
In all of 2017, the Idaho Department of Corrections reported five walkaways from across the state. The incidents happened at the St. Anthony Workcamp, South Idaho Correction Institution, East Boise Community Reentry Center and the Idaho Falls Community Reentry Center.
All seven of the 2018 walkaways happened in eastern Idaho with four from the Idaho Falls Community Reentry Center and three from the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center.
“We have no reason to believe these walkaways are related,” IDOC Constituent Sevices Manager Ammie Mabe said.
The inmate who is still on the loose is Randall Grant Brunette, Jr., 35.
The latest walkaway happened last Tuesday. Destiny Elizabeth Stoops, 21, wasn’t taken back into custody until Friday in Vernal, Utah.
Skyler Eric Pulley, 27, went missing from the Idaho Falls Re-entry Center on April 3. Kirsten Walz, 39, walked away from a work crew from the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center July 20. Brandon Garner, 36, didn’t return to his work release unit on June 8. Michael Dean Pulido, 48, never returned after being released on furlough to attend a funeral on June 22. Misty McMurdo, 29, walked away on April 25 and was quickly apprehended.
“Inmates who walk away while on work assignment are removed from the work program, lose their institutional privileges and are placed in a housing unit or facility that provides a higher level of security,” Mabe told EastIdahoNews.com.
She explained these inmates could also face escape charges and be denied parole.
All of the walk away inmates were minimum custody, low-risk offenders.
“We should note that there are several factors for an inmate to qualify to work in the community,” Mabe said. “Among those are the risk level of their crime and their proximity to release. They also must have a record of following institutional rules.”
She said these work programs are meant to help inmates transition back into society.
“We know from experience that if we release offenders without helping them prepare for that transition, they are more likely to commit new crimes and return to prison,” Mabe explained.