HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Information from the Alabama Department of Corrections and court records show how a man arrested for attempted murder was put in the ADOC’s work release program and walked into the Valley.
Law enforcement arrested Kelvin Scruggs in July 2013 for attempted murder and firing a gun into an occupied vehicle. In 2014, he pleaded guilty to firing the gun into the vehicle, and Madison County prosecutors downgraded the attempted murder charge to first-degree assault.
Scruggs also pleaded guilty to the assault charge.
It’s unclear how or why, but Scruggs was put in the ADOC’s work release program at the North Alabama Community Work Center located outside of Decatur.
The program allows selected inmates to work for an employer without state supervision. It’s an opportunity for inmates to earn money, learn a business skill, and combat the prison return cycle that hovers over 30 percent.
It’s also an opportunity to walk free into the valley.
ADOC spokesperson Samantha Banks said Scruggs walked off his job site the night of Feb. 27, 2018. He returned to the job site overnight where ADOC officials detained him.
[READ MORE: Decatur work release escapee recaptured]
It’s unclear where Scruggs worked, but the ADOC website for the north Alabama facility states it has work release programs in Madison, Morgan and Limestone counties.
WAFF 48 News formally requested the guidelines used to select inmates for the work release program, but the ADOC has not yet responded.
Banks said six different north Alabama facility inmates have walked off their job sites since October 2017. One has yet to be recaptured and another is currently facing an assault charge.
Department records show 51 work release inmates have walked off their job site since October 2014.
The North Alabama Community Work Center is a five minute drive from the home of Stephen Harris. He said he’s concerned about security, but also the justice of the program.
“We have nonviolent people in jail, and violent people outside of the jail, is how I feel,” he said.
He said Decatur is his home and doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon.
WAFF 48 News requested an interview with Associate Commissioner Steve Watson, who oversees the program. The request is still pending.