Man with violent past climbs razor wire fence, escapes EBR work release facility
BATON ROUGE - A man convicted of beating a guard with a tree limb last year managed to scale a razor-wire fence Sunday and bolt free from the Baton Rouge work release facility. As a result, two private security guards were terminated.
Jacob Criner, 18, was convicted of aggravated assault last October for the beating at Swanson Correctional. That's a juvenile facility in the Monroe area. It's not clear what Criner was serving time for in a juvenile prison when he beat the guard.
However, five months into a two-year sentence at hard labor he was moved to a minimum-security facility because the Department of Corrections said he met the requirements. Criner was living at the work release facility when he escaped Sunday morning.
Paul Perkins owns Louisiana Workforce LLC. He told WBRZ Tuesday that he took quick action against the guards and additional security measures are in place. He said Criner was in the work release facility but was working as an orderly. His conviction did not allow him to do work release just yet at the time of his escape.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday that Criner was apprehended in Monroe. They say Criner was never in their custody before the escape, as the work release facility operates as a separate entity despite it being adjacent to the jail.
Warden Dennis Grimes issued the following statement:
"The Work Release Program is overseen by the Louisiana Department of Corrections and is only for DOC inmates to participate. DOC determines the criteria for eligibility. The participants are housed and sleep at the work release facility run and staffed by Louisiana Work Force. Warden Bradley Burns oversees the facility, staff and inmates in East Baton Rouge parish. We were notified at approximately at 6:30 Sunday morning that the Ouachita parish inmate had escaped the facility earlier that morning. I have met with Warden Burns and made recommendations for additional security measures. We have also reached out to Louisiana Work Force for further clarification on the housing of possible violent offenders."
Late Tuesday evening, the Department of Corrections issued a statement at odds with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office which states in part that the prison oversees the Transitional Work Program. Communications Director Ken Pastorick issued the following statement:
"There are more inmates in DOC custody than there are beds in state facilities. A little more than half of the state’s DOC inmates are serving time in local jails. Inmates with long sentences and medical needs are typically housed at state facilities. Jacob Criner is a first offender serving a two year sentence in a local facility, which is consistent with the type of DOC inmate house in local jails. For more regarding the custody level, you would need to contact the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, which oversees the jail and the Transitional Work Program. The DOC only has access to adult records, which do not contain juvenile charges or convictions."
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