Limited details in how state plans to stop work release inmate escapees

Christopher Daniel Jones was in jail for receiving stolen property when he left his job site Wednesday, authorities said.

Posted: Nov 15, 2017 1:45 PM
Updated: Nov 15, 2017 9:21 PM

DeKalb County authorities say they have found an inmate who walked off work release Wednesday morning.

Christopher Daniel Jones, 28, of Rainsville, was working at F.G. Lumber in Sylvania when he walked off around 11:45 a.m., according to the DeKalb County Sheriff's office. 

Jones was located at 3:22 p.m. on County Road 683 in the Sylvania area, and he was transported to the DeKalb County Detention Center.

He has been working at the business since Nov. 3 and was in jail on charges of first-degree receiving stolen property and failure to appear.

Jones is expected to face charges related to the escape.

However, more trouble may be on the horizon. 

Since 2016, the Alabama Department of Corrections said that at least 23 inmates have escaped from their work release facilities. 

So WAAY 31 wanted to know how state facilities can increase security at both state and county work release facilities.

Something WAAY 31 learned Wednesday is that some work release facilities are only operated on the county level -- meaning, the state can help with the search of an escapee but can't necessarily help with overall facility security.

"It's a situation that seems like it may just have to stay the same," said Huntsville resident Dianne Lacy. 

Lacy recognizes under the conditions of a work release situation, it could be more challenging to monitor those inmates.

We reached out to the Alabama Department of Corrections who told us if they saw an increase in people breaking out of their state run work release  facilities -- they deal with it instance by instance and crack down on current security and implement those rules to the best of their ability. They told me they can't always send additional correctional officers.

In terms of helping a county run work release facility -- they told WAAY in the past they've helped find escapees -- but couldn't help with security since it county owned facilities are their  own complex.

Lacy said that while this situation is concerning, she doesn't want to see a work release program ruined for those inmates who do want to try and better their lives.

"I would hate for the all of the inmates to not have that privelege to go out on work release because you know, it's always gonna be one or two bad apples in a bunch," Lacy said. 

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