Man Breaks out of Jail, Only to Return Himself 7 Hours Later

By Venus Upadhayaya, Epoch Times
July 7, 2019 Updated: July 7, 2019

A man who escaped from Tennessee prison on July 4 simply returned to the prison after seven hours, according to the police statement.

Steven Ray Hamm, 45, was detained in Humphreys County Jail as a pretrial felon where he escaped on Thursday at about 8 p.m., the Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Police said he was held in the prison on charges of “theft of property, burglary of a motor vehicle, failure to appear and child support.”

“Hamm has a history of child support violations, various traffic-related offenses, and drug charges,” the Sheriff’s office added.

Police entered him as an escaped inmate after his disappearance, and had declared a cash reward for anyone who had information that could help identify his whereabouts.

“He was last seen wearing camouflage cargo shorts, a dark t-shirt with text on it, tennis shoes, and a dark hat turned around backwards,” the officials said in the escaped inmate notice posted to its Facebook page.

The New York Post reported that about seven hours after his escape, Hamm returned himself to prison. It was around 3 a.m. Police have not provided any details about how he escaped or why he returned.

He is likely to face additional charges for breaking the jail.

Getting Out of Mexican Prison

In a similar but a more bizarre case, a man who escaped Louisiana’s East Feliciana Parish Prison in 2003 while serving time for burglary returned to the prison 15 years later on Sept. 24, 2018.

Lonnie Payne was serving a 12 years prison term in 2003 when he escaped by trimming glass between two security fences, reported the Associated Press.

He then climbed over an 8-foot high fence and fled.

“He truly and honestly wanted to be home,” Sheriff Jeff Travis said, according to The Advocate.

In August last year, when Payne was trying to cross a checkpoint in Mexico on Aug. 29 with a fake identity, he landed himself in a Mexican jail.

Travis told The Advocate that after living in the Mexican jail for a few days, Payne called the U.S. Consulate and disclosed his identity, which led to his return back to the Louisiana prison.

“In this day and age, it’s hard to run and hide without being caught, and his luck ran out,” Travis said.

Americans in Prison

There were over 2.2 million Americans in prison in 2016, according to a 2018 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. This contributes to almost a quarter of the world’s total prison population. The country spends $80 billion on running its prisons every year.

Every year, over one million Americans get arrested on drug charges alone and only 23 percent stay out of prison once released.

CNN reports that if all the prisons in the country are put together, they would form the tenth-largest city in the country.

The country releases 636,000 people from jails every year and 11 million people cycle through local jails annuals, according to the Prison Policy Initiative.

Nationally the prison rate across the United States was 10.5 escapes per 10,000 prisoners in 2013, according to CNBC.

The Trump administration in December 2018 signed off on a bipartisan measure, the First Step Act, for criminal justice reform aimed at making it easier for courts to reduce penalties for nonviolent drug offenders.

Alice Marie Johnson and President Trump
Alice Marie Johnson, who had her sentence commuted by U.S. President Donald Trump (L) after serving 21 years in prison for cocaine trafficking, thanks the press during a celebration of the First Step Act in the East Room of the White House on April 1, 2019. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Right on Crime, a project of the Austin-based Texas Public Policy Foundation, spearheaded the measure.

Follow Venus on Twitter: @venusupadhayaya
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