Under prior law, a judge could order any person who, without just cause, refused to testify before a federal court or grand jury to be confined up to the life of the proceeding or term of the grand jury. Persons who escaped or attempted to escape from such confinement could not be prosecuted since the general federal escape statute, 18 U.S.C. § 751, is limited to escapes from custody resulting from arrest or conviction. This section was intended to close the gap left by 18 U.S.C. § 751, thus allowing criminal sanctions to be imposed for an escape from custody ordered for refusing to testify.
In addition, prior to the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, there was no provision for detention of a defendant upon a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. Under the act, if the court makes a finding that due to mental disease or defect the person's release would pose a danger to another person or the community, the court must commit the person to the custody of the Attorney General. This section was intended to allow criminal sanctions to be imposed against persons who escape or attempt to escape from such confinement either before or after the hearing to determine present mental illness and dangerousness.
[cited in JM 9-69.600]