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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Justice Dept. Launches "Fugitive Safe Surrender"

BOB ABERNETHY, anchor: Around the U.S., there are more than a million warrants out for the arrest of people who've been accused of an offense, often minor, but who have not paid their fines or shown up in court. We have a report today on a new program organized by the Justice Department to encourage offenders to turn themselves in. It works, and it's done in churches, as Lucky Severson reports.

LUCKY SEVERSON: Nineteen-year-old Edacious and her cousin are on their way to church. She's not here to worship; she's here to surrender. There's a warrant for her arrest on marijuana charges, and she has come to this church to turn herself in. Hundreds of others with outstanding warrants have also shown up.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Just to get this off my record, you know, to clear my conscience, for one thing.

SEVERSON: This is part of a two-year-old program coordinated by the Justice Department, called Fugitive Safe Surrender. It's the brainchild of Pete Elliott, a member of the U.S. Marshals Service.

PETE ELLIOTT (U.S. Marshals Service): People have asked me why a church, and it's simple. Churches give hope.

Read it all here.

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