Out the Door

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Q: They put me in a juvenile detention facility, but I ran out the door.  It was always left unlocked.  My friends say that this is called ‘felony escape’.  Is it?

A: Your attorney will argue that, although you were in detention, you were not in confinement.  The facility was merely a place for the temporary care and maintenance of a troubled but not particularly dangerous child away from his own home – without physically-restrictive construction, hardware and procedures.  Although secure commitment is concerned with protecting the public – and such a purpose is frustrated by escape and vindicated by subjecting escapees to serious criminal sanction – the dominant purpose of your commitment was mere therapy and rehabilitation.

While locks on the doors and other hardware distinguish secure detention, nonsecure detention is characterized by the absence of such restrictions: residents are staff-supervised and may even leave a group home to attend community programs if escorted by staff.  The usual non-secure setting, a community group home or open campus-like structure, is not even deemed ‘detention’ by most people.

Apparently, the authorities just wanted to put you in a beneficial therapeutic environment.  Perhaps some consequence will attach to your leaving, but seemingly not a charge of felony escape.  A far more likely consequence would appear to be transfer to a more secure facility.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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