'Frequent Flyer' list keeps track of repeat offenders - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

'Frequent Flyer' list keeps track of repeat offenders

Posted: Updated:

For some inmates, the Vanderburgh County Detention Center is a revolving door, a home away from home.  

Officials say it's a balancing act deciding who to allow out on bond and who has to stay in jail. But sometimes those suspects who do post bond, commit violent crimes while they're awaiting court dates. 

21-year-old Arthur Jones has been arrested three times since 2011. Jones has been charged with attempted robbery, possession of a handgun by a felon, and most recently, attempted murder.

In the past three years, some residents have been arrested and booked into jail as many as 20 times, that's once every other month. Now, the Vanderburgh County Jail has a system in place to alert the judge of repeat offenders, a red flag that the suspect keeps committing crimes.

Vanderburgh County Sheriff Eric Williams says the jail has been overcrowded almost every day since it opened in 2006. Who has to stay and who gets to go?

"Ultimately, it's up to the judge. We push very hard on repeat offenders. We push very hard particularly on violent offenders. We try to advocate, but obviously if you're doing that in every single case, it loses it's veracity," said Prosecutor Nick Hermann. 

"The courts are in a bad spot when it comes to making those decisions because they're battling. Who do we keep in jail and who do we give an opportunity to get out and that they'll show up to court on their own," Sheriff Williams said.

Sheriff Williams says it's taxing on the budget and on their resources. 

"When you have people that get second, third, fourth, fifth chances to get bonded out, and with the anticipation, the expectation that they'll show back up in court," Williams said. "They don't do that, creates another warrant in the system, so now that's another booking entity. It's time we spend going out and rounding them up to deal with the problem that could have been dealt with a long time ago."

When an inmate is booked, the jail can scan it's multiple bookings watch list. It identifies "frequent fliers" and sends up a red flag.

"So that when our staff books one of these people that are a frequent flyer for us, we can put a very visible note this jacket. Please pay close attention to this one because this person seems to not get it. They keep coming back and maybe it's time to get their attention for real because obviously what we've done to this point hasn't worked. They keep coming back," Williams told 14 News. 

Does that mean the judges in Vanderburgh County take those "frequent flyer" notes into account?

Hermann said, "If you commit a crime when you're out on bond, you're treated in a very different light."

Hermann says a good example involves Racxon McDowell. McDowell was out on supervised release from federal prison when he murdered his girlfriend, Rachel Lomax. Hermann says the judges weighed that factor very heavily and gave McDowell the maximum sentence of 65 years.

To see that "frequent flyer" list of the top 100 most arrested suspects, click here. 

Copyright 2013 WFIE. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow