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Mistaken release of inmate prompts investigation by state

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ST. GABRIEL - A state investigation is now underway to figure out who is at fault in the mistaken release of an Elayn Hunt Correctional Center inmate wanted for escape and carjacking Thursday.

According to the Louisiana Automated Victim Notification System (LAVNS), Emanuel Jones was released from Elayn Hunt on Thursday. Authorities said he was re-arrested just before 1 p.m. Friday at his home in Covington.

Jones is accused of escaping the West Baton Rouge Parish Work Release program last year. Investigators in West Baton Rouge Parish said their employees did not conduct a proper headcount, allowing his leave to go undetected. At least two deputies were disciplined.

While Jones was out, he's accused of committing a carjacking and robbery in Baton Rouge.

"Just two weeks ago, he was booked on escape charges in West Baton Rouge," Colonel Richie Johnson said. "We had a detainer on him."

Jones also had an active warrant for his arrest in Baton Rouge, after he allegedly carjacked a man from Texas. Investigators in West Baton Rouge found designer Michael Kors watches that belonged to the victim at the Work Release Facility in Port Allen.

About Jones' situation, Communications Director Pam Laborde wrote in an email on December 16, 2015: "Jones is serving time for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was within three years of his eligibility date for the Transitional Work Program, as his good time parole supervision date (release to supervision) is 1/28/16. His full term date is 8/7/2021. Obviously, those dates don't mean much if he is facing additional charges."

The Department of Safety & Corrections released a statement Friday afternoon that said Jones had a release date set for Jan. 28, but because of the detainer and pending escape charge, he should have been turned over to the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office on that date instead of being released.

Jones’ release will now be the subject of a state investigation. Preliminary information gathered today shows that Elayn Hunt Correctional Center staff had information that should have prevented Jones from being incorrectly released from custody in the first place. When the review of the incident is complete, DPS&C says they’ll carry out the necessary and appropriate disciplinary action for the party found to be culpable during the investigation.


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