Work release at Patuxent is suspended Inmate's escape leads to program's re-evaluation

September 24, 1997|By Ivan Penn and Kate Shatzkin | Ivan Penn and Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF

State public safety officials have suspended the work-release program at Patuxent Institution, after an inmate who failed to return from a weekend pass wounded a sheriff's deputy in a shootout Friday afternoon in Montana.

The inmate, Charles Elmer Carpenter, 32, of Clear Spring, was killed in the shootout near Landusky, a small mining town in north-central Montana. The shootout began after the deputy pulled over Carpenter's car while investigating a complaint of suspicious people in the area, according to Arlyn Greydanus, chief of the Montana Criminal Investigations Bureau.

A woman with him also was killed but had not been positively identified late yesterday. She was shot by Carpenter or committed suicide, Greydanus said.

Bishop L. Robinson, secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, recalled all work-release inmates at Patuxent late Monday and is re-evaluating the leave policies.

Patuxent has 26 inmates in its work-release program; eight are serving life sentences for such crimes as first-degree murder and rape. Most of the 26 inmates were convicted of violent offenses.

"I ordered that they be brought in because I believe that we need to re-evaluate our policy regarding the assignment of violent offenders to work release during certain periods during their sentence," Robinson said yesterday.

He said Patuxent's Board of Review will look at each case to determine whether the inmates will continue in the program.

Patuxent's work-release program was last suspended in 1995, after Gov. Parris N. Glendening announced that he would not parole inmates serving life sentences for rape and murder. Eventually, some such inmates were returned to work release under court order.

The work-release program will be suspended for at least 30 days, said Leonard A. Sipes, a spokesman for the department.

Sipes said Carpenter is the only inmate during the past eight years who failed to return from leave and committed a serious crime while on the run. Another inmate serving a life term, Ronald Henderson, walked off work release Aug. 21 but returned the same day, Sipes said.

Carpenter was serving a life sentence for the 1982 shotgun slaying of his grandmother in rural Washington County. In February 1995, he was sent to the Patuxent Re-Entry Facility, a halfway house at Monument and Eutaw streets in Baltimore.

Like other inmates in the Patuxent Re-Entry Facility, Carpenter was allowed to work during the day and was given regular leave on weekends.

But Carpenter failed to return from his regular weekend pass last month. He was supposed to be at the halfway house at 11: 59 p.m. Aug. 10. He had been on the run until the shootout in Montana.

Brian Robinson, a sheriff's deputy in Phillips County, Mont., was wounded in both legs during the shootout. He has been released from a hospital and is recovering at home.

Pub Date: 9/24/97

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