Police were on a manhunt only 15 hours after an inmate’s reassessment placed him in Bowden Institution’s minimum security annex.
Dean McClelland escaped the minimum security annex on April 26 and was arrested by the Calgary Police Service at a home in the northwest neighbourhood of Bowness two days later.
McClelland pleaded guilty to one charge of being unlawfully at large and one charge of escaping lawful custody in Red Deer provincial court on Tuesday.
His lawyer, Patty MacNaughton, said the judge put over sentencing as the charges against him are so similar. He will be back in court on June 13.
McClelland had been serving a three-year, eight-month and 15-day sentence in the medium security facility.
He pleaded guilty in May 2010 to one count of arson, one count of criminal harassment and four counts of criminal mischief causing damage. He was accused of burning down his former spouse’s rented house.
Innisfail RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jeff Hildebrant said that the medium security facility is equivalent to what is viewed as a traditional prison with fences. The annex, the minimum security facility, however, is patrolled but has no fences.
“He was in medium security facility but after two years of serving that sentence without issue they had done a reassessment of him and at that time he was brought down to minimum and gained access to the annex,” Hildebrant said on Tuesday.
“That process had taken place within 15 hours of his escape. This guy obviously had a very focused intention and a plan.”
McClelland is now being held at the Red Deer Remand Centre and Hildebrant doubts if he will ever again be placed in an annex.
“He will have a very high risk assessment from now on.
“If he does not go to maximum security, at least for the short-term, than I would be very surprised about it,” Hildebrant said.
“He might get downgraded to medium at some point but this is a very serious change in his risk assessment.
“I do believe that there was considerable concern about him going after a victim of what had led to him being federally incarcerated in the first place.”
Rita Wehrle, assistant warden at the Bowden Institution, said McClelland has new charges before the courts that have to be addressed before they decide where he is placed.
“But certainly, because he is absconded, we would take in consideration where we would put him now.
“Rest assured any new information about him is taken into consideration in terms of how we deal with him.”