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Police: Re-offender may have wanted to go back to prison


A New Jersey police chief suspects that a man who committed a robbery immediately after being released from prison may have been trying to get sent back to prison.

Police say the 40-year-old man was released from South Woods State Prison in Friday after spending more than a decade behind bars for robbing a children's shoe store in Toms River.

They allege that the man then boarded a bus and went straight back to the store, Stride Rite, where he committed another robbery.

The man is accused of ordering the store's two employees -- a teenage boy and a middle-aged woman -- into the back room of the store. They initially refused, but eventually the man got them into the room and tied them up, police say.

The man then fled with the store's cash and the employees' cell phones. He was arrested just blocks from the store after ditching the stolen property, police say.

The Toms River police chief suspected it is possible that the man -- who cites Oklahoma as his state of residency -- wanted to go back to prison as it might be "the only life he knows."

Sadly, this is true for some individuals who spend many years locked up and don't have anywhere to go upon release. It's unfortunate that these individuals see re-offending as the only way back to getting meals and a place to sleep.

That's why programs that assist former prisoners with finding jobs and transitioning back into society are very important -- not only as a way to help the former prisoners, but as a way to reduce subsequent crime.

Source: NBC New York, "Man Leaves Prison, Robs Same New Jersey Shoe Store 15 Years Later: Police," March 26, 2014

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