CREST HILL, IL—While alerting the public Thursday that inmate Leonard Sawyer had escaped from the facility during the night and was currently at large, officials from Stateville Correctional Center sought to assuage local residents’ concerns by emphasizing that the convict has 24 years of rehabilitation under his belt. “Sawyer’s whereabouts are unknown at this time, but the public can rest assured that this is a man whose lengthy incarceration gave him ample time to reform his violent tendencies and remake himself into a productive member of society,” said Stateville spokesman Richard Mulberry, noting that Sawyer, who was convicted of double homicide and who physically overpowered two guards in his escape, has had every day since 1992 to reflect on his past decisions and commit to turning his life around. “While we dispatch teams to scour the area and set up roadblocks within a 20-mile perimeter, we want to make it clear to those living in the area that Sawyer held down a laundry room job for over a decade in the maximum-security cell block, providing him with the discipline and responsibility necessary to develop a more constructive outlook and approach to life. And on top of all that, he spent the last four years in solitary confinement, an environment free of distractions in which he could truly focus on his personal rehabilitation.” At press time, the “completely changed man” was holed up with two hostages in a gas station and letting state troopers know his demands.
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