Inmate walks out of Minnesota's fenceless, minimum-security facility for first time since '05

O'Reilly (center); state-provided images from the CIP facility (left and right).
O'Reilly (center); state-provided images from the CIP facility (left and right).

Around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, convicted counterfeiter/fraudster Richard O'Reilly became the first inmate to stroll out of the Department of Corrections' Challenge Incarceration Program since August 2005.

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The wooded, 24-acre CIP facility in Moose Lake "is a minimum-security facility with no fence," DOC spokesperson Sarah Latuseck told us. "Offenders are monitored by security staff during movement."

According to state information, CIP, created by the Legislature in 1992, is a voluntary program for nonviolent offenders. It involves chemical dependency treatment, military-style training, work crew, and transition preparation.

An evaluation of CIP performed by the DOC in 2006 found that the program decreased the chances of recidivism by 35 percent and cut costs by $18.1 million by saving nearly 1,500 prison beds.

O'Reilly entered the CIP program in November. On Tuesday night, he was "observed by security officer running off grounds [and] refused directives to stop," Latuseck said.

The DOC sent out an emergency bulletin regarding O'Reilly's escape yesterday morning, and a few hours later he was peacefully apprehended in the Sturgeon Lake area.

By making a break for it, O'Reilly blew his chance to serve out his term at the CIP facility, it appears. Statute prohibits placement in the program for offenders who have been convicted of an escape within the previous five years.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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