CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-Team found dozens of convicts have simply walked away from a low-level lock-up near downtown.
The most recent case happened last weekend, and last month, one of the inmates later was charged with murder.
We investigated what’s happening at the Nancy McDonnell Community Based Correctional Facility. It has barbed wire and locks. It's more than a halfway house, but less than a prison.
The facility told us 45 inmates have disappeared in the last six months. The Cuyahoga County Court said 56 have left without permission since the start of the year.
Judges send inmates there to get treatment and counseling, and then later they can get some freedom to find jobs as they finish sentences.
The facility is operated by an agency called Oriana House. The agency recently did a study and found those leaving without permission were often younger, single and frequently battling mental health issues.
One who left late told researchers, “You’re just gonna have to catch me when you can.” Another spoke about a class saying, “Thinking for a change was just always so silly… So I really didn’t take that too seriously,”
“We’re concerned you begin to lose, not only public confidence, but also judicial confidence in the system," Chief Cuyahoga County Court Judge John Russo said.
Russo said a committee is reviewing security at the facility along with the kind of inmates sent there.
“From a judge’s perspective, we look at the risk. I think within the CBCF, they’re looking at what measures do they need to put in place to make sure they don’t have an AWOL or escape.”
It is not clear how long the inmates stay on the run. The county court is now looking into that too.