Several inmates escape work release in few months time - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Several inmates escape work release in few months time

George Sanks (Courtesy Elkhart Co. Sheriff's Dept.) George Sanks (Courtesy Elkhart Co. Sheriff's Dept.)
Dontea Bush (Courtesy Elkhart Co. Sheriff's Dept.) Dontea Bush (Courtesy Elkhart Co. Sheriff's Dept.)

Goshen residents are on edge tonight after two men escaped from a work release program, right around the corner from their homes.

Two offenders escaped the Elkhart County Community Corrections work release facility early Wednesday morning.

That makes half-a-dozen people, who have either escaped, or not returned from work release since April.

Authorities say, Dontea Bush and George Sanks left out of the back door of their ward and escaped.

Both have burglary records.

Sanks was re-booked at the Elkhart County jail Wednesday afternoon.

Offenders serving terms in the Work Release facility are considered non-violent, but a situation involving a escapee not too long ago, got pretty scary.

"I was out in the kitchen and I heard a noise.  And I come running out, "Hey" right away 'cause she barks when somebody's around.  But it happened so fast, this one, my dog didn't even get a chance to bark," That's how Betty Stengel described what happened when an offender broke into her house to hide from police after escaping from the Work Release facility in April.

George Sanks and Dontea Bush were the latest to escape, and Elkhart County police blotters show three others either escaped or didn't return to the facility in August.

It's a series of events that has Stacey Callahan, who lives nearby, a little on edge.

"When you have children involved, it's a very unsettling feeling to be around this area."

The neighborhood near the facility is filled with kids, trying to enjoy the last of summer.

"The Boys and Girls Club is right around the corner and people will do what they have to do to in order to get away from the police. If they're that desperate to walk out of the facility, they're desperate to do anything," says Callahan.

Elkhart County Prosecutor, Curtis Hill supports community corrections programs, but says the amount of escapees recently raises a red flag.

"If you have that number of people who are leaving the program. There's something wrong," says Hill.

Hill says the first question we should be asking ourselves is, 'do we have the right people going into the program?' rather than, 'is there enough security?'

"The whole concept is to be able to put someone in  non-lockdown situation. If you feel like you have to lock them up, that's what we have jails for," says Hill.

Hill says the problem could stem from the method he says courts are relying more and more on.

"They use these risk assessments to establish who should get certain types of treatment. We're finding that those risk assessments aren't very good. Typically not worth the paper they're printed on," says Hill.

Stacey says she'd like to see some more attention paid to the situation, "If it's happening quite more frequently then yes, they need to find something out in order to prevent what's happening," she says

Powered by WorldNow

Fox 28

58096 County Road 7, South
Elkhart, IN 46517

Switchboard: 574.679.9758
News Phone: 574.679.4545
Station Fax: 574.294.1267

All content ©Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSJV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Heather Stewart at (574) 343-5310. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at