Individuals wanted for non-violent crimes in the Boston area will soon have the chance to turn themselves in at a local church, where they may receive favorable consideration on their open warrants.
Individuals who are hiding from the law pose a risk to themselves, the communities in which they hide, and the law enforcement officers who pursue them. A Congressionally-authorized United States Marshals Service initiative known as Fugitive Safe Surrender will take place in Boston from Wednesday, Oct. 6, through Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Jubilee Christian Church, located at 1500 Blue Hill Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts. There are no religious requirements and a secular site will also be available. Public defenders will be available at no charge to surrenderees.
There are currently over 50,000 open warrants out of the Boston Municipal Court Department of the Trial Court, with about half of them for non-violent offenses. Living with an open warrant means being unable to get a driver’s license or housing and interrupts the ability to be a productive citizen. The Fugitive Safe Surrender program encourages wanted individuals to turn themselves in, address their warrant, and move forward with their lives.
More than 27,000 fugitives have surrendered to authorities at 19 Fugitive Safe Surrender sites in 18 states since the program began five years ago in Cleveland, Ohio. Each site has drawn hundreds – and in many cases thousands – of men and women who chose to take the first step toward a fresh start.
As many as 98% of the individuals who surrendered for non-violent offenses at those sites went home the same day after receiving probation, paying a fine, or receiving a new court date. Though the program is geared toward non-violent offenses committed in Boston in the jurisdiction of the Boston Municipal Court Department, people with warrants for more serious criminal offenses can also avail themselves of Fugitive Safe Surrender but may not have the opportunity for same-day resolution of their outstanding criminal matters.
The FSS program creates a partnership between the clergy, the courts, and social services agencies. That partnership is supported by local and Federal law enforcement. The Boston partnership includes the U.S. Marshals Service; Jubilee Christian Church; Boston TenPoint Coalition; Boston Municipal Court Department; the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance; Boston Police Department; Suffolk County District Attorney; Committee for Public Counsel Services; Trial Court Officers; MBTA Transit Police; Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department; Office of the Commissioner of Probation; Administrative Office of the Trial Court; Trial Court Information Services Department; Massachusetts National Guard and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Registry of Motor Vehicles Division.
The U.S. Marshals and other law enforcement agencies pursue tens of thousands of fugitives each year, with every arrest containing the potential for violence. Fugitives don’t just put themselves and their pursuers at risk – they endanger their families and communities as well. The Fugitive Safe Surrender program reduces this risk by allowing individuals to surrender safely at a neutral location to receive favorable consideration by the court.
For more information please call the Mayor’s 24-hour hotline at 617-635-4500 or visit www.safesurrenderboston.com.
Fugitive Safe Surrender: Come in. Be safe. Get help.
Alison Hodgkins, U.S. Marshals Service: 617-748-2500
Boston Police Media Relations: 617-343-4520