Indiana Jail Loses 3 Prisoners in 6 Weeks
The county jail in LaPorte, Ind., is having such trouble keeping track of prisoners that three inmates have been mistakenly released in the last six weeks.
In the latest incident, St. Louis police arrived to claim Jervon Martin-held for drug and resisting arrest charges-only to find the LaPorte jail had released him due to a "paperwork mistake." Martin is still at large.
In late January, Kevin Coleman tricked a guard into believing he was another prisoner and was allowed to walk out of jail. In February, Johnnie Kirkwood was mistakenly released instead of another inmate with the same last name. Both were apprehended within 90 minutes, according to the sheriff's office.
In a statement, LaPorte County Sheriff Mike Mollenhauer said "all three incidents occurred due to jail staff failing to follow proper procedure." Mollenhauer complained his "over-populated" jail was staffed by an inadequate number of "over-worked" employees.
The Indiana sheriff fired one jail guard, demoted another, and reprimanded a third connected to the incidents.
Some local residents though are sympathetic to the sheriff's plight.
"Our department is a good department, but they're just over-worked," Rick Kostielney, who manages a nearby car dealership, told South Bend, Ind. ABC TV afilliate WBND. "Everyone across the United States is feeling the crunch of the economy and having to cut back and they're no different."