Winnebago judge sets inmate free on furlough, then he allegedly robbed a store

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Sometimes, for funerals or medical treatments, a judge can grant an inmate furlough, meaning they are released from jail for a short period of time.

But, in some cases, they don’t come back. Even worse, some commit crimes while they’re out.

“Before a judge is going to grant a furlough, they’re going to need some assurance,” said Attorney Christopher DeRango. “Am I putting the public at risk if I let this person go?”

When an individual is granted furlough, they are allowed to leave custody for a set amount of time.

DeRango says there are certain reasons a judge will grant a prisoner leave.

“A funeral, medical treatment that the jail can’t provide, some even that a judge find sufficiently important to let them out of custody,” he said.

Quentin Beasley, 54, was granted a furlough in November by Winnebago County Judge Debra Schafer. He had been sentenced to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to armed robbery.

Prosecutors objected to the furlough. While Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross said she can’t comment on individual cases, she explained why her office might object.

“Circumstances where we may object might depend on the nature of the offense the person is in custody for,” she said.

DeRango says a judge granting a furlough is rare.

“You’re going to have an order when you leave the courtroom that says…you’re going to be released at this time, on this date, [and] you’re going to return by this time on this date,” he said.

Beasley was set to leave the jail on November 18th at 8 in the morning and return the same day at 4 p.m.

He never returned.

“If you violate the terms of your furlough, you’re in violation of the conditions of your bond, which is a criminal offense,” DeRango said. “They can even charge you with escape.”

Not only did Beasley fail to return, but he’s accused of robbing another store.

According to authorities, around 8 p.m. Saturday December 7th, Beasley robbed the Dollar General at 3214 Auburn St., and implied he had a weapon.

Police say Beasley fled on a bicycle to a residence in the 3300 block of Auburn Street.

Officers secured the home, which was occupied by five other adults, and were able to take Beasley into custody.

“In the past, we’ve had individuals who have not returned to the jail and have committed other crimes while they were on the furlough,” Hite Ross explained.

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