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Fugitive Safe Surrender: Program Description, Initial Findings, and Policy Implications

NCJ Number
Criminology and Public Policy Volume: 11 Issue: 3 Dated: August 2012 Pages: 437-460
Daniel J. Flannery; Jeff M. Kretschmar
Date Published
August 2012
24 pages
This study examined the implementation of the Fugitive Safe Surrender program.
A review of the implementation of the Fugitive Safe Surrender program found that of the 35,103 individuals who believed they had a warrant for their arrest surrendered voluntarily to a local church 3,501 felony persons had 4,238 felony warrants, 18,400 misdemeanants had 44,971 misdemeanor warrants, 1 in 5 persons had no warrants located, and less than 2 percent of individuals were arrested following their surrender. A survey conducted following implementation of the program found that 73 percent of those who participated in the program indicated that the ability to surrender at a church was either important or very important. In addition, 47 percent of respondents indicated that their reason for surrendering was the desire to obtain a driver's license; wanting to start over (42 percent) and fear of arrest (40 percent) were the other primary reasons cited for surrendering. This study examined the implementation of the Fugitive Safe Surrender program, a collaborative effort between law enforcement and faith-based organizations. The program was conducted in 20 cities with the intent of providing a safe environment for persons to surrender to law enforcement and reducing the potentially dangerous interactions between police and fugitives on the street. Results of the program implementation show the need for standardizing data collection and dissemination across various law enforcement agencies, and the need to make it easier and less costly for individuals to check the status of outstanding warrants. Implications for policy and future research are discussed. Tables and references