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Why Ephrata murderer was allowed on work release

Eakin was scheduled to be released in September 2016 but could now face more charges from his escape, according to the Washington (DOC). Officials said he will be put back on work release. 

EPHRATA, Wash. – The big question when Ephrata residents heard that Jake Eakin escaped from a Yakima work release program was why was he allowed on a work release program in the first place?

The Washington DOC said work release has served as a bridge between completion of prison sentence and returning to the community. Eakin was scheduled to be released from prison in September and say his charge didn't make him ineligible for the work release program.

Prison inmates on the work release program are required to come back when they're scheduled to return but do have a little bit more freedom in the community, according to the DOC. Officials said the program helps inmates learn to behave in a work environment and maintain a job.

The inmates must go through a screening process and checklist to be eligible for the work release program, according to the Washington DOC.

But anyone convicted of first degree murder or has serious mental conditions cannot participate in work release, DOC officials said. Eakin was charged with Second Degree murder and that made him eligible.

Eakin, 25, escaped on Sunday but was arrested on Tuesday in South Dakota, according to the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC). He was convicted of murdering 13-year old Craig Soler in 2005 along with Evan Savoie. Both boys were 12 at the time and were the youngest kids in Washington history to be tried as adults.

Eakin took a plea deal so his charge was reduced to Second-Degree Murder.

DOC officials said Eakin passed the screening process and was close to his release date.

Eakin was scheduled to be released in September 2016 but could now face more charges from his escape, according to the Washington (DOC). Officials said he will be put back on work release.

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