Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

June 19, 2014

Escape: Public should know

-- — Shortly after midnight on June 12, inmate Marvin Smith reportedly walked away from the Valdosta Transitional Center and failed to return. A 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee was stolen at approximately the same time, near the transition center.

The state Department of Corrections should have let the public know of this escape on June 12. Instead, the public didn’t learn of this situation until nearly a week later on June 18 when the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office asked for the community’s help in locating Smith.

Smith was in a transitional center. He was incarcerated following a conviction on a motor vehicle theft charge in Glynn County.

Almost daily, area police reports reflect a person being arrested on probation violations. So it’s not unusual for people convicted of a crime to fall outside of the judicial system, but in the case of probation, the system has decreed a convicted person may live in society while regularly reporting and being answerable to authorities.

In this case, Marvin Smith was not out on probation. The system deemed he be held in a transition center.

That same system should have alerted the public upon noticing him missing.

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