(WTNH) — Since 2009, more than 978 inmates have walked away from Connecticut halfway houses, opening themselves up to first degree felony escape charges.
The unguarded houses are meant to be a way for inmates to slowly reintegrate back into society. Halfway houses, all operated by third non-profit companies, have lax guidelines and potentially lax response to walkaways, according to one inmate.
In all, eight percent of the inmates who walked away in that five year time frame have not returned. One of those inmates, Alfredo Aldeco was convicted of kidnapping and robbery. In late 2012, he walked out of a Waterbury halfway house. As of this publication, Aldeco has not been found.
“These offenders are going home,” said Department of Correction Commissioner James Dzurenda. “Can we predict crime? No we cannot. You have to understand these offenders are discharging in a very short period of time. Even if they’re doing 50 or 60 they’re within 6 months of transitioning back into this community.”
But a former inmate who stayed in a halfway house, whose identity we’ve agreed to conceal, says the reaction is slow, if it happens at all.
“Someone walks away one day someone fights the next and you’ve forgotten about the person walking away. Nothing surprises me with the department of corrections,” said the inmate.
The state does do unannounced checks at halfway houses and they do find issues. In 2013, a single contract shut down three halfway houses around the state. In reports, inspectors found many inmates without jobs, as required and moldy food being left in the kitchen.
Despite admitted issues in the program, Dzurenda said the program is working.
“That’s the key. It’s the reduction [of reoffenders]. Not the elimination.”