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Two walk from halfway house

Residents violate conditions of prison release by leaving

Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Two residents walked away from a Gastineau Human Services halfway house early Sunday morning. Thirty hours later police remained unaware of their escape.

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Jordan Sharclane, 29, and Harry Hewson, 32, were separately caught on videotape leaving the 85-bed halfway house near Costco in Lemon Creek during the early morning hours.

"If they call us, we can keep our eyes open for them," police Sgt. Dave Campbell said.

Mike Truax, facility director, said his responsibility is to call probation when the people under his supervision "walk away."

Kevin Brew, special assistant to the commissioner of the Department of Corrections, said the police should have been called immediately.

Truax said Sharclane and Hewson were not in "custody" like some residents at Gastineau, who are carrying out part of their prison sentence at the halfway house. The two men had already been released from prison and were living at the halfway house because it is considered court-acceptable housing and meets the conditions of their release, he said.

"They were probably homesick," Truax said. "Holidays are a tough emotional time."

Walking away violated the conditions the court lays upon their release from prison. Gastineau is not a lock-down facility like Lemon Creek Correctional Center, but people are ordered to live there by the court, probation and parole systems. Some finish prison sentences and others serve entire prison sentences at the halfway house.

"If you walk away, you up the ante," Campbell said.

The men were recent additions to the roster at Gastineau. Sharclane transferred on Nov. 15 with a probation placement related to a misconduct and a drug conviction. Hewson arrived at Gastineau Oct. 25 on parole for third-degree assault, Truax said.

"We try to send low-risk offenders that we think can make it out in the community," said Brann Wade, chief classifications officer for the Department of Corrections.

Truax said the typical length of stay is six months.

Late in October, Timothy Foster walked away from Gastineau with just 10 weeks to go on a prison sentence. Foster's departure was labeled an "escape," for which he faces four to seven years if the charge sticks.

Sharclane and Hewson remained free as of Monday evening.

• Contact Greg Skinner at 523-2258 or greg.skinner@juneauempire.com.



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