Department Of Corrections Answers Questions About Lack Of Public - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Department Of Corrections Answers Questions About Lack Of Public Notification Of Escape

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SAVANNAH, GA -

A man walks out of the Coastal Transitional Center-- and is missing for more than three weeks before being recaptured last week. A warrant had been issued for his arrest on an escape charge-- but the public was never alerted, and some are asking why. "My major concern is that with the school being out here and all that, that the Georgia Department of Corrections put no kind of press release out letting the public know that there was an escaped convict and that he could be returning to an area where he grew up," says Brad Wittfeld. He's one of several Isle of Hope neighbors who spotted Frederick Rushing over the past couple of weeks...but had no idea he was wanted.

If Rushing had walked away from a jail or prison - an alert would typically have been put out by authorities. But a spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Corrections says the rules are different for Transitional Centers. Gwendolyn Hogan tells News 3 "Residents who don't report back to the center are considered in unauthorized absence status until the superintendent believes it isn't likely the resident will return." Hogan goes on to say, "Non-returning residents are classified as "walk aways" - not escapes."

Still - a warrant was issued for Rushing's arrest on an escape charge.

"It doesn't make any sense at all - but I'm not familiar with the state rules on how they notify when a prisoner escapes or leaves - I'm not sure how they do that - but it seems to me that the more people that know about it - the more likely that he's gonna be caught," says Metro Police Chief Willie Lovett. In fact - less than 48 hours after neighbors here were asked to be on the lookout for Rushing following a break-in at the Wormsloe cottage - he was spotted and rushing taken into custody. Chief Lovett says, "As you saw - as quickly as the community was notified that they person was out - he was apprehended and that's what you know - we look forward to - that relationship that we build with the community and I think it would be wise for the state to kind of follow suit."

Chief Lovett says Metro Police *were* notified of the escape or "walk away" on April 5th...so authorities were on the lookout. The D.O.C. spokesperson says it's also standard operating procedure for them to notify victim's services - but not the public.

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