SEPTA Escapee To Serve Extra Prison Sentence< < Back to
The man who escaped from the Southeastern Probation Treatment Alternative (SEPTA) will now serve an extra sentence on top of his original conviction sentence.
Richard P. Rush, III, 24, of Glouster, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for violating the terms of his community control, but Athens County Common Pleas Judge George McCarthy added another 36 months for the escape.
Rush jumped the recreation area fence on May 31, and was apprehended at a vacant house in Nelsonville the next day. He had been serving a community control sentence there after being convicted in a 2012 drug possession case.
In court on Monday, Rush entered a guilty plea to third-degree felony escape, and admitted to violating the terms of his community control, according to the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office.
Rush is the sixth person to escape from the SEPTA grounds since January. Two left from the recreation area in February, and three absconded in April.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction was set to help SEPTA reinforce their perimeter fence on Monday, according to Program Coordinator Scott Weaver. In the meantime, more of a staff presence will be a part of recreation time at the facility, which serves as a community service-focused facility for “non-violent, non-dangerous offenders who are eligible for parole,” according to SEPTA’s website.
Security protocols and vulnerability studies are under review at the facility, Weaver told WOUB. A new interim supervisor was just named to the facility, which led to the security reviews. Weaver said the new focus on consistency in protocols may have led some inmates to want to escape.
“Most residents want to serve their time in the program and reintegrate into the community,” Weaver said after Rush’s arrest. “Whereas these individuals, based on their own personal circumstances, felt that this was too much of a sanction for what they wanted to contend with.”
The facility was only equipped with a fence and one band of concertina wire at the time of the last escape, according to Weaver. That is now changing with the enhancement of the perimeter.
“A significant amount of razor wire will be placed, and the perimeter will be significantly more hardened,” Weaver said.
The amount of staff will not be changing, nor will the ultimate goal of the SEPTA.
“I want to make sure the community understands that the safety and security is very important to us,” Weaver said. “At the same time, the focus of the facility is also reintegration of individuals and that we are community-oriented, so we have to make sure that we balance the fine line that we are not intended to be an ultra-secure prison, our design is reintegration, recidivism reduction center.”