Two inmates remain at large in Louisiana prison escape

Four men were able to escape from Louisiana’s Tangipahoa Parish Prison over the weekend because of an eight-inch gap and a lack of supervision at the facility, authorities said. Two of the men were still as tall as Tuesday night, while the other two were found hiding in a dumpster, police said.

Jimmy Travis, chief of operations for the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, blamed structural problems and a lack of oversight by jail staff during a news conference Monday.

The four men escaped after evading correctional officers during playtime in the yard and hid until after dark, according to a Facebook statement from Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards.

The men escaped in pairs, Mr.,” Travis said. The first two — Avery Guidry, 19, and Travon Johnson, 21 — left the prison Saturday by dodging correctional officers and escaping through a narrow eight-inch gap under a wall before scaling two fences at the nightfall. On Sunday, two other inmates – Omarion Hookfin, 19, and Jamarcus Cyprian, 20 – copied this route for their escape.

Authorities did not know the men had fled until a family member of one of the escapees called them Sunday, saying the men had tried to take refuge at a relative’s house, M. said. Travis. He attributed the delay in completion to lack of staff and lack of supervision.

“If a proper count had been carried out, we would have been informed immediately,” he said.

Staffing issues at the prison over the weekend are not unique to the state, which has one of the most overcrowded prison systems in the country. In 2022, Louisiana prison officials said state prisons and juvenile detention centers were understaffed due to low wages and poor conditions.

The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday morning.

Mr. Guidry and Mr. Johnson were back in jail Monday after authorities found them in a dumpster, Mr. Travis said. Mr. Hookfin and Mr. Cyprien remained at large, officials said.

Mr. Johnson, Mr. Hookfin and Mr. Guidry were in jail after their arrest in connection with a 2022 homicide. Mr. Cyprian was in jail on armed robbery and weapons possession charges, the county office said. sheriff.

Mr Travis said the wire in the yard had been weakened by corrosion, allowing people to open it and create a small space. Once the inmates got through the gap, they were able to climb down a wall where there was another gap of about eight inches.

“You wouldn’t think eight inches is a lot, but a 150-pound human being can fit under it,” Mr. Travis said.

He added that he believed all four inmates took the same route out of the correctional facility.

“We had a fault with the safety barrier,” Mr Travis told reporters. “We had another deficiency that should have been corrected.” And, he added, there wasn’t enough barbed wire. He also said not all officers received adequate training.

“Sometimes in our work we become complacent until something like this happens,” Mr. Travis said. But, he added, “it’s a failure.” We experienced an inner failure.

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