This would be funny except for the tragic message it sends about the state of incarceration and homelessness. A Louisiana man just attempted to break back into jail hours after being released. He wanted food and a place to sleep, so he smashed the front door of the Calcasieu Correctional Center’s main entrance.
Surveillance Footage Shows Released Inmate Attempt to Break Into Jail via Front Door
39-year-old Kenneth D. Hunt had previously been jailed on November 1 for theft, criminal damage to property, and criminal trespassing. He was eventually released at 3 pm on January 3.
“This individual had not even been released from the Calcasieu Correctional Center for 24 hours before he decided to return and break the glass on the front doors,” Sheriff Tony Mancuso said. “He stated to deputies he wanted a place to sleep and a meal; we quickly made those arrangements for him. I guess we can now say we literally have people beating down the door to stay with us.”
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office booked Kenneth Hunt on a criminal charge of damage to property.
While an inmate breaking back into jail seems funny on its face, it also points to a serious issue.
The Public Was Quick to Bring up Criminal Justice Reform.
“Doesn’t this signal to people that something is wrong? That our society has its priorities backwards when people are willing to be incarcerated just to have food and shelter???? This is absurd y’all, we gotta do better,” one person commented on TikTok.
“It’s sad that the sheriffs office is making a joke out of this. This is actually really sad,” read a Facebook comment.
“I can’t imagine being in a position where he felt like that was his only choice, going back to jail. It’s probably really hard to transition back to society afterward. That must feel awful,” wrote another person.
This Is an Accelerated but Necessary Example of Recidivism
The incident has led to widespread discussion about how society treats homelessness and incarcerated people.
Prison conditions in the United States have been criticized for their particularly overcrowded, inhumane, and violent conditions. Importantly, US prisons are notorious for not providing inmates with adequate education and rehabilitation services. This subsequently leads to higher recidivism rates, with the country having some of the worst in the world.
According to the National Institute of Justice, 44% of released inmates return within 1 year. 68% return within 3 years and 77% return within 5 years.
And in some cases, released inmates will evidently return within hours.
Perhaps we should consider rehabilitating our prison system. Life can be hard already. But for someone who is expected to change their life around, they need to have the tools and the confidence to do so.