I expect that all of our parents have told us to forgo judging another person until you have walked the proverbial mile in his shoes. I have tried to apply that philosophy in my field as a criminal defense lawyer and do not judge clients.
While I try to refrain from judging people, I am willing to say that the person that chose to escape from the Centre County Prison while volunteering on the trustee program was wrong. According to newspaper reports, an inmate that was released from the Correctional Facility pursuant to the trustee program decided to run away when he was assigned to perform weed eating duties. My problem is that this person's decision will have a negative impact on future people trying to avail themselves of this positive program. The trustee program at the Centre County Correctional Facility not only allows the client to leave the facility, but the program also allows the person to give back to the community through the volunteer effort and also receive credit towards an early release. Regrettably, the general public sees that a prisoner was given some freedom and he abused it, and many people will call for the abandonment of this program. The general public is not aware that many many people participate in the program, follow the rules, and give back to society.
Generally, people are sentence to county prison is they have violated relatively minor provisions of the law, such as DUI or marijuana possession. Such clients are often eligible to participate in the trustee program at the Centre County prison. Clients often ask me why the prison and probation department are so strict on programs that involve giving the client some freedom, and I tell the client that the restrictions are in place because people abuse the system. Regrettably, that is exactly what this Centre County inmate did, he abused his freedom. The adage "one rotten apple ruins the bunch" is applicable. Because one person violates a program, future participants are judged accordingly. The Centre County inmate's decision to escape from the trustee program will have negative effects on people that apply for the program in the near future.