How Did Escaped Criminal End Up On Work Program? - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

How Did Escaped Criminal End Up On Work Program?

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YAKIMA--Well-known Spokane criminal Eddie Ray Hall was in a low-security jail despite his long history of lawbreaking.  There is not even barbed-wire on the fences around the corrections center on Pacific Ave.   But why wasn't Hall under tighter supervision?  County Corrections Officer Sgt. Gina Danielson said it is because he is not a violent criminal.

"His behavior history allowed him to be down there," Danielson said.  "Every person is checked on a case-by-case basis looked at to see if they meet the criteria to be put into those working programs."

Hall has a history of bail jumping and not returning from work-release jobs.  This is video from numerous news stories in Spokane.  But the Department of Corrections said they did not consider his prior history an escape threat until yesterday.

"He was a model inmate while he was with us," Danielson said.  "He didn't show any signs and there was nothing, no clues given that he would have this planned."

Spokane police were not too happy when they heard Hall escaped from jail.

"He's been such a burden on the Spokane community for the last 30 years," Sgt. Dave Reagan said.  "The justice system just hasn't been very effective at dealing with Eddie and of course now he's on the loose again."

Reagan does not think Hall would be on work programs in Spokane ... But since he is not a violent offender, he could have ended up in a similar situation.

"Because his criminal record is primarily property crime and drug crime and not crimes against persons, he might very well have qualified to be a trustee inside our facility."

Yakima county corrections officers said they will review the policies and procedures for the worker program, and might institute stricter inmate eligibility requirements.

More than 60 inmates from outside Yakima County are in local jails.