Inmate escapes from state's boot camp Incident comes in wake of 4 erroneous releases

November 19, 1997|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

An inmate escaped early yesterday from the state's military-style boot camp prison, dealing another blow to Maryland's correctional system, which has been under scrutiny for several weeks for erroneously releasing four inmates.

Authorities had not found Frederick David Lamont Brown, 18, of Baltimore as of late yesterday. Brown had served three months of a five-year sentence for theft when he escaped from the Herman L. Toulson Boot Camp in Jessup, said Maxine Eldridge, spokeswoman for the state Division of Correction.

Brown faces escape charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, Eldridge said.

The $5.5 million boot camp is a six-month disciplinary program that uses a military boot camp approach. The program is designed for inmates younger than 26 who are serving sentences of five years or less for nonviolent crimes. Attending boot camp lets prisoners earn early release.

The program has 230 inmates. Before Nov. 1, it was a voluntary operation that was unpopular among many prisoners. About 25 percent of those who enrolled dropped out of the 7-year-old program, reportedly because of the strict rules.

On Nov. 1, correctional officials began requiring prisoners who qualify to enroll in the program. Although the numbers have been increasing, the 458-bed boot camp remains half-empty.

Officials said yesterday that Brown is the first inmate to escape from the boot camp grounds. Three inmates walked off a work crew last year.

Brown, who had been at the camp since Oct. 28, is thought to have escaped over a fence in the back of the camp.

Leonard A. Sipes Jr., spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said escapes from Maryland prisons are becoming increasingly rare. He said escapes have dropped 2 percent in the past 10 years, even though the number of inmates has increased 73 percent, to more than 22,000.

Recent computer and paperwork errors led to the erroneous releases of two inmates from the Baltimore City Detention Center and two from the Maryland Penitentiary. Three turned themselves in. The fourth, Russell John Yarborough Jr., 26, was released Saturday from the Detention Center and has not been found.

Pub Date: 11/19/97

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