Inmate Escape Investigation

By: Courtney Hayes
By: Courtney Hayes

Every day inmates are safely transported to and from the jail in transport vans, but on a Friday afternoon in late February, 18-year-old Jeremy Aultman proved how unsafe they really are.

The felon was able to escape while a corrections officer who was driving the van had stopped at a traffic light. Police didn't find Aultman until the next morning.

In an incident report released Wednesday, the county's jail liaison Roger Hagan says Corrections Corporation of America broke policy when the corrections officer only handcuffed Aultman and other inmates.

Policy requires inmates to wear handcuffs and leg irons during transport.

Hagan also wrote that Aultman easily unlocked the door by reaching behind the door's interior covering.

CCA has now installed a metal plate over the inside passenger door. Dead bolts were also placed on the outside of the door to ensure an inmate cannot open the door again.

In his report, Hagan also found the correction officer driving the van had trouble radioing the jail's control center.

CCA officials say they've made corrective action on that problem as well, by ordering cell phones for their officers who transport inmates.

Lastly, Hagan says CCA waited too long to contact the media about the inmate escape. Hagan says the media is critical in keeping the public informed and helping get the word out about the escaped inmates description and whereabouts.

8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647
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