Two days ago, 32-year-old Mikel Knick walked away from the Alternatives pre-release center in the Heights. This is not the first time something like this has happened, but it has caused some people to ask the question: Why would a murderer and a kidnapper be in a halfway house after only serving four years in prison?

Some of the people I have asked about this have cited overcrowded, understaffed prisons as the main reason we are shuffling people through the justice system so quickly. That might be the case, but I would have to think there are people serving sentences for nonviolent crimes that might be better candidates. Someone made the decision that this man had changed enough to begin re-entry into society. The fact that he committed another felony by fleeing custody proves otherwise to me.

I have no problem with the concept of early release, but it only seems logical that violent criminals and sex offenders be excluded from such programs. The risk is simply too high.