A chart yesterday listing offenses of parolees from Patuxent Institution incorrectly defined four abbreviations. The correct definitions are: B&E, breaking and entering; CDW, carrying a dangerous weapon; S-CM, soliciting murder and conspiring for murder; and AWIR, assault with intent to rape. (Published 12/11/88)

Twice, Billy Ray Prevatte, a convicted murderer and burglar, was confined to Maryland's Patuxent Institution. Twice, the prison released him.

Prevatte, who at age 14 gunned down a Prince George's teacher and years later was convicted of planning a contract killing, according to court records, is one of 199 inmates paroled since 1977 by Patuxent. The largely autonomous prison has come under heated public criticism recently for its practice of releasing inmates early.

Prevatte typifies the sort of violent offender whose early release has fueled public anger and cast doubt on Patuxent's future. Such cases have overshadowed the successes of the institution, which operates independently of the rest of Maryland's penal system and attempts to rehabilitate inmates with psychotherapy and gradual reentry into society through furloughs, work releases and paroles.

Records released by Maryland officials on Thursday show that since 1977, the prison in Jessup has paroled 16 inmates who were serving life terms. They were paroled after spending an average of eight years behind bars.

Inmates serving life terms at conventional Maryland prisons served an average of 20 years before being paroled.

The disclosure that Patuxent routinely paroles violent offenders, including 43 convicted murderers and 27 convicted rapists since 1977, brought renewed criticism of the prison from state officials.

"If those type of statistics are true, there isn't any question that it {Patuxent} ought to be curtailed," said R. Clayton Mitchell Jr. (D-Kent), speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates. "That hardened criminals and aggravated rapists are serving half the time as other inmates just has to be shocking to the citizens we're trying to protect."

According to court and corrections records, those paroled since 1977, besides Prevatte, include:

Charles Wantland, who killed a 12-year-old Prince George's County boy three weeks after being paroled by Patuxent in 1978. Wantland had served six years of a 30-year sentence in the prison for murder.

Jesse Newlin West Jr., who was sentenced in 1973 to two consecutive life terms for the murders of a Frederick County man and a Prince George's woman. West was paroled in 1979, after serving five years and one month.

Steven Troese, who was sentenced to 25 years in 1981 for the execution-style slaying of an acquaintance's husband in Prince George's. According to testimony, Troese planned the killing, supplied a shotgun, hired a friend to ambush the victim, then weighted the body with concrete and dumped it in a creek. He was paroled in 1986 after serving five years.

Harry Edward Brockman, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1974 for a contract killing that resulted in the death of a Prince George's County postal worker. He was released by Patuxent four years later.

Acie Roland Gearheart, a violent repeat offender, who was paroled by Patuxent in 1977 after serving four years of a 20-year term for several offenses. His parole was granted despite Patuxent's own initial refusal to admit him in 1973, when officials called him "a poor therapeutic risk" and "a potentially dangerous individal who could easily commit bodily harm to others."

Patuxent Director Norma B. Gluckstern has defended the institution's furlough, work-release and early parole programs as necessary to the rehabilitation of inmates.

She has acknowledged that Patuxent's review board, which votes on inmate releases, can never be sure that a prisoner is no longer a threat to public safety. But she said the risk is necessary in a society that seeks to balance punishment with rehabilitation.

The public furor over Patuxent began last month with the discloure that Robert Daly Angell, sentenced to three consecutive life terms for the murders of two Montgomery County police officers and a teen-ager, had been leaving the prison on furloughs since April.

The controversy was compounded on Nov. 28 when convicted rapist James M. Stavarakas fled a work-release program and allegedly raped a woman in Hyattsville the next day. He turned himself in a week later in North Carolina.

Records released Thursday show that 62 of the institution's 700 inmates were on work-release or furlough programs before Dec. 1, when the programs were suspended indefinitely in response to public criticism. Of the 28 inmates granted furlough privileges, eight had been convicted of murder and nine of rape.

Sixty-four percent of the inmates in the prison's work-release program had been convicted of murder while 58 percent were serving life sentences.

It could not be determined from the records supplied by Patuxent how many paroled inmates had been convicted of crimes after their release.

One inmate who was convicted of additional crimes was Stephen Gary Howard, who was paroled from Patuxent in 1977 after serving 4 1/2 years of a 20-year sentence for rape and kidnaping in Prince George's County. Three years after being paroled, Howard was sentenced to 18 years for two armed robberies in Fairfax County. The convictions continued -- in May 1983 for vandalism at a Virginia jail; in September 1985 for conspiracy to commit murder while in prison, and in July 1986 for attempted escape.

As for Prevatte, his first admission to Patuxent was in 1956, when he was sentenced to life in prison for killing a teacher and wounding two others in a shooting rampage at then Maryland Park Junior High School, where he was a student. He was paroled from Patuxent sometime later, although the date could not be determined yesterday.

In 1975, in Wilmington, N.C., Prevatte was convicted of "assault with a deadly weapon resulting in serious bodily injury" and received a 10-year suspended sentence, according to court records.

Back in Maryland in 1978, he was convicted of trying to hire someone to kill a witness against him in a Montgomery County burglary case.

Sentenced to 40 years in 1978, Prevatte was readmitted to Patuxent. In 1982, four years after starting the 40-year term, he was paroled again.

Staff writers Keith Harriston, Lisa Leff, Eugene L. Meyer, Dana Priest, Retha Hill and researcher Bridget Roeber contributed to this report.