A state prisoner on furlough to the Gastineau Human Services halfway house walked away from the facility Wednesday night, according to the Juneau Police Department.
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Timothy Foster, 38, was serving the remaining months of a sentence for a felony theft.
Police later arrested Foster on a charge of escape. He had 10 weeks left to serve.
Mike Truax, facility director, said Foster was scheduled for release on Jan. 6, 2008.
The 85-bed halfway-house near Costco has no fence to control inmates or probates. The Department of Corrections sends "low risk" people to Gastineau.
"We try to send low risk offenders that we think can make it out in the community," said Brann Wade, chief classification officer for the department.
Since January at least 16 prisoners on furlough have walked away from halfway houses statewide.
"Most are out and back in the same day," Wade said.
Foster knew he was going back to jail after failing a urinalysis. It could be one indication why he walked, Truax said.
Police spokeswoman Cindee Brown-Mills said Foster's escape was the first since she started with the police department 18 months ago.
People confined to Gastineau work in the Juneau community every day. Truax said monitoring is taking place.
Technically speaking, Foster escaped from prison. District Attorney Doug Gardner second degree escape is a B felony. With at least one felony conviction under his belt, Foster faces a sentence of four to seven years in prison if convicted of escape, Gardner said.
Many of the prisoners charged with escape plead their cases to lesser serious charges, Wade said.
Police took Foster to Lemon Creek Correctional Center after the arrest.