Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

New trend? Inmate’s request to stay in prison after sentence was granted

You’d think, given the number of people trying to break out of prison, avoid convictions that could lead to prison, and in general express their unhappiness about being in prison, that prison is a pretty lousy place to be. One New Mexico inmate, however, who was about to be released, asked to stay.

In what some fear may become a trend, an inmate in prison in Los Lunas, who was scheduled for release September 26, 2013, wasn’t ready to go. Prison officials let the unidentified inmate stay until October 15, all at the taxpayers’ expense. The man reportedly suffers from multiple sclerosis and has the mind of a child, and the long-term-care facility he was headed to wasn’t ready for him.

According to Alex Tomlin, a spokesperson for the Department of Corrections, since the inmate’s medical condition made a hostel stay inappropriate, “They tried about 20 different facilities trying to find someone that would be willing to take him,” adding that in inappropriate conditions, ”He could turn back to substance abuse, he could rob somebody to get what he needs, he could end up having to go to the emergency room and rack up a bill that taxpayers would have to pay.”

At this point the extra bill to the taxpayers was 19 days at $168 per day, so  $2,560.

This decision to allow the inmate to stay has generated concern that other inmates will demand the same treatment. Tomlin states that this was in no way a precedent, and that ”Our stance has always been to do what’s right for the community and what’s right for the offenders.”

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