New felony charges filed against DeSoto prisoner accused of escaping work detail

New felony charges filed against DeSoto prisoner accused of escaping work detail
The inmate captured by local law enforcement in DeSoto County after escaping his work detail in Arcadia is facing several new charges. (Source: DeSoto County Sheriff's Office)

DESOTO, Fla. (WWSB) -New charges have been filed against a convicted murderer serving time at DeSoto Correctional Institution after escaping his work detail in Arcadia earlier this week.

Elijah Crady mugshot
Elijah Crady mugshot (Source: wwsb)

Court records show 38-year-old Elijah Crady is charged with kidnap and false imprisonment of adult or child less than 13, escape, grand theft motor vehicle, resist officer, and battery on emergency medical provider following his capture by DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office and Arcadia Police Department.

Today DeSoto County schools were placed on a brief lockdown and you may have seen additional police presence in the area...

Posted by DeSoto County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Crady was on work detail on Wednesday when deputies say he escaped from the area of Oak Ridge Cemetery. He’s accused of attempting to steal two occupied cars in his attempt to run from officers. Officials say he was found near Highway 17 and Fiveash Street in a wooded area. Deputies say there was a scuffle and Crady was talken to the hospital for minor injuries.

How work programs work per the Deputy Communications Director at Florida Department of Corrections:

Aligned with Florida law, the Florida Department of Correction’s work programs allow inmates opportunities to provide restitution to communities throughout Florida. Similar to community service or volunteer work, inmates who are assigned to work squads provide a valuable service to Florida’s communities, reduce expenditures to taxpayers, and receive job skills and experience for their lives after they are released. Inmates housed in work camps are usually transferred after completing part of their sentences at a traditional correctional institution and demonstrating that they are committed to acting appropriately and within FDC guidelines. Jobs include cleaning up roadways, grounds and building maintenance, painting, building construction projects, moving state offices and cleaning up forests. About 11% of the prison population resides in work camps.

Structured work programs are similar to jobs outside of prison, consisting of a daily work schedule, required tasks and responsibilities, and time off. These programs reduce idleness at facilities, provide variance and structure throughout the day, help prepare inmates for release, teach trade skills, provide inmates opportunities to fulfill restitution obligations and serve the public.

Work programs are a valuable piece of Florida’s correctional system and are an integral part of inmate rehabilitation and restitution.

Inmates participating in community work release programs work at paid employment in the community. These inmates must be less than two years from their release date and not be convicted of a sexual offense. Inmates remain at their assigned correctional facility when they are not working or attending programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Inmates participating in community work release are required to contribute part of their earnings toward savings, victim restitution and court costs, support for their dependent children and subsistence.

Criminal justice experts tell ABC7 in order for inmates to get into programs like this they have to earn it and it’s a process.

”The whole thing is to try to integrate everybody back into society,” said former law enforcement officer and Criminal Justice Program Manager at State College of Florida, Greg Arnold.

He says programs like the one’s provided by the Desoto Correctional Institute help prepare inmates for their life outside.

“When they’re ready to and do they have the skills that once they get out to be able to get jobs,” said Arnold.

The Department of Corrections says the work programs allow inmates opportunities to provide restitution to communities across the state.

They say about 11-percent of the state’s prison population are at work camps.

“There are a lot more inmate working [on] the outside than people may realize. It’s just [in] certain areas that we don’t see them as much because we don’t have a big prison right near us,” said Arnold.

Arnold says it’s rare when inmates escape.

The Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability says the number of escapes decreased 30.6% across Florida from 49 between 2017-18 to 34 in 2018-19.

Crady is at Desoto Correctional Institution finishing out his thirty year sentence. His release date was scheduled for 2027. He’s been in custody with the Department of Corrections since August of 2000 following his conviction for playing a role in the death of a man in a 1998 armed burglary.

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