If Caught, Colton Harris-Moore Better Hope for Quick Extradition Back Home
Yes, Colt now faces U.S. Federal charges. The “We don’t care about this kid, who’s simply a local problem” FBI recently filed papers showing they they do — and have — cared about someone who's been boosting small airplanes and flying them around America. Now, if he’s caught, Colt will have at least one, and maybe eight or more, Federal charges against him (anything stolen and taken between states is a Federal crime, including cars, boats, and planes. The DNA and fingerprint evidence is now coming in in bunches, and supposedly ties Colton Harris-Moore to at least a couple of each. So... this could mean quite a bit more prison time.
BUT… if Colt thought it was a good idea to head out of U.S. jurisdiction in order to escape his warrants in the U.S. justice system… nope. As I mentioned before, there is an extradition treaty between us and the Bahamas that’s been in effect since 1994. No one will confirm or deny to me yet whether there is an agreement to bundle Colt back here right away if he’s caught. We work closely with the Bahamas govt on many matters, and even station FBI agents full-time at our embassy in Nassau because our law enforcement works with the Bahamians on issues such as drug smuggling. Colt has, allegedly, already committed a number of crimes on Great Abaco (as many as seven), including home burglaries and a break-in at Curly Tails where he’s seen on security cameras. It would not be unusual, though, for him still to be quickly repatriated to face the US charges.
HOWEVER, if he gets to the threshold where Bahamian authorities feel they need to tell the U.S. that they’d like the first crack at him — say if the worst case happens and a Bahamian gets hurt during a chase or confrontation — then Colt’s in for a rude awakening.
There is only one prison in the Bahamas, the notorious Fox Hill, which brings an immediate shudder to any Bahamian who mentions it. The most recent reports from the U.S. State Department (State 1 and State 2 ) paint a picture of an overcrowded, sweaty, hell, with the max security block crammed with twice as many prisoners as it was designed to hold. (Bahamian sources claim it is even higher). Men being held for trial (that is those still considered innocent) are routinely put in cells with convicted criminals. All convicted prisoners are initially sent to the max unit as a means of “breaking them in” to prison life.
Quoting: “Male prisoners were crowded into poorly ventilated cells that generally lacked regular running water, toilets [read: the only bathrooms are communal buckets]. Most prisoners lacked beds. Many of them slept on concrete floors and were locked in small cells 23 hours per day. Maximum-security inmates were allowed outside for exercise 4 days a week for 1 hour per day. Prison officials estimated that approximately 8 percent of the prison population was infected with the HIV virus and one-third suffered from tuberculosis. Amnesty International (AI) stated in a 2003 report that the HIV infection rate was closer to 20 percent.” [Bahamian activists put those disease rates even higher].
So... once again, for all those out there following your story, Colt, from the "fans," to those folks who think you're just a crook who needs to be caught but they still have the humanity not to wish you harm, on their behalf, I'd strongly suggest not escalating this to the point where the Bahamians feel compelled to keep you for awhile.
As wonderful and friendly and welcoming as the Bahamian people are, their prison is not.