Fort Smith inmate returned to custody after one night at large

·2 min read
RCMP headquarters in Yellowknife. An escaped inmate in Fort Smith, N.W.T., has now been located and returned to custody.  (Liny Lamberink/CBC - image credit)
RCMP headquarters in Yellowknife. An escaped inmate in Fort Smith, N.W.T., has now been located and returned to custody. (Liny Lamberink/CBC - image credit)

An escaped inmate in Fort Smith, N.W.T., has now been located and returned to custody.

According to a press release earlier this week, the unnamed man escaped the Fort Smith Correctional Complex on the evening of Apr 30, and was found and brought back to custody the next morning.

The Department of Justice said that "a full critical incident review" would be completed to determine the circumstances of the escape "and work towards any improvements necessary."

In an email to the CBC, a spokesperson for the department said the results of that review wouldn't be made public since reviews "contain sensitive information with respect to facility security."

If released, the department said that information could threaten the safety of staff and inmates.

Spokesperson Julie Plourde added that inmates will not have access to the location where the escape happened in the jail "until necessary security improvements have been made," following recommendations from the review.

Plourde said there was no timeline on how long the review would take.

A similar review in 2016 found that inmate Denecho King escaped Yellowknife's North Slave Correctional Centre through a "pre-existing gap in the physical security," in order to access the roof.

A press release at the time said that inmates wouldn't have access to the area where King escaped until "necessary security upgrades" had been completed.

RCMP decided not to inform the public

The media release in the more recent case was issued after the inmate was found and returned to custody.

Asked about the Department of Justice's policy on notifying the public of an escaped inmate, Plourde said the department's policy is to contact the RCMP when the escape occurs and that the decision to notify the public rests with RCMP.

RCMP did not respond to CBC's questions about when it would choose to inform the public of an escaped inmate prior to deadline.

Plourde said that in cases where a victim is registered in the victim notification program — a service that provides updates on any changes to an offender sentence or location — victims are notified of the escape.

Plourde said that the department was choosing not to name the inmate for privacy considerations.

She said that when an escape happens, the RCMP considers the possibility of risk to the public and determines whether releasing the inmate's information is required.

In this case, they determined it was not.

Fort Smith Mayor Fred Daniels said he was not aware of any damage in the community while the inmate was at large.

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