STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – State Representative David Cook (R-8) has sponsored new legislation, HB 2790, that would significantly toughen penalties for inmates who escape from a correctional facility.
“Following the recent successful capture of two dangerous escaped state prison inmates, I was dismayed to learn that they could only be charged with a Class 4 felony,” said Representative Cook. “It is only by the grace of God that nobody was injured, or worse, while these criminals were at large. The penalty needs to fit the crime and this change in statue does exactly that.”
HB 2790 increases the penalty for escape from a Class 4 to a Class 2 felony, giving prosecutors and judges a wider array of options and greater discretion when charging or sentencing an offender. A Class 2 felony is the highest non-murder felony classification in state law and carries a sentencing range of anywhere from 3-35 years imprisonment, depending on the offender’s prior criminal history and whether a weapon was used. Under the law, any sentence for an escape conviction must be served consecutively to the sentence that the inmate was serving at the time of their escape.
“I commend the tremendous efforts by state and local law enforcement to protect the public and quickly apprehend the two escapees. HB 2790 respects their efforts and those of all who uphold public safety in our state. Moreover, it respects those who have been crime victim and their families who are likely to endure additional traumatic stress if their perpetrator escapes,” added Representative Cook.
HB 2790 is cosigned by Representatives Kevin Payne (R-21), Frank Pratt (R-8), Bret Roberts (R-11), Ben Toma (R-22), and John Fillmore and Jacqueline Parker (R-16), as well as Senators Vince Leach (R-11), T.J. Shope (R-8), and Kelly Townsend (R-16).