Prison Breaks

Title: Officials: Inmates Walked Out Front Door During Mass Prison Escape In Mexico
Date: September 20, 2012
Source: CNN

Abstract:  The 129 inmates who escaped from a northern Mexico prison did not flee through a tunnel, as authorities first reported. They walked out the front door.

Federal and local authorities launched a manhunt after the inmates escaped Monday in Piedras Negras, across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas.

Authorities arrested 16 employees, including the prison director, after the escape.

Politician Manlio Fabio Beltrones said the prison break highlights a larger issue in Mexico.

"The crisis in the Mexican prison system is serious and must be addressed urgently," Beltrones said.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon condemned the escape, calling it "deplorable" in a series of Twitter posts Tuesday.

"In the past six years, more than 1,000 inmates have escaped from state prisons. From the federal prisons, not one," he wrote.

The largest escape during Calderon's six-year term occurred in December 2010, when 151 inmates escaped from a local prison in the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo.

In February, 30 inmates fled after a riot in a prison in Monterrey, Mexico.

Authorities originally said the inmates in the latest escape slipped through a 23-foot tunnel, sliced through a chain-link fence and ran through an empty lot.

But they released new information saying the inmates went through the front door.

"It is hard to believe that they went through that tunnel," said Jose Luis Moran, the public safety secretary for the Mexican state of Coahuila.

Officials originally said that 132 inmates had escaped but adjusted the figure to 129 after finding three inmates hiding in another part of the prison.

Police set up blockades on roads leading to the Mexico-U.S. border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection placed its officers and agents in the area on alert, a homeland security official said.

"At this point, CBP has no reports of escapees attempting to cross the border. We will continue coordinating with our Mexican counterparts as we monitor this situation," the source said (CNN, 2012)

Title: Convicted Killer Escapes From Mississippi State Penitentiary
Date: September 23, 2012
Fox News

Abstract:  A man serving life in prison for killing his girlfriend has escaped from the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, and visitation there is closed.

Corrections spokeswoman Jasmine Cole says 48-year-old Michael Blane Dowda is considered armed and dangerous.

She says officials realized Saturday afternoon that he was missing from a maintenance detail. He allegedly stole a white 2005 Silverado truck with Yalobusha County disability tag number 0922 and drove out.

Dowda was sentenced for killing Clarissa Lynn Jarrett in 1996 at their Harrison County home. He said he thought the gun was unloaded, because he'd removed the clip. Authorities said one bullet remained chambered.

Dowda is described as white, 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair and a tattoo on the left side of his chest (Fox News, 2012)

Title: Al Qaeda Suspects Escape Iraq Prison In Deadly Break
Date: September 28, 2012
Fox News

Abstract: Prisoners seized weapons and set off hours-long clashes with security guards at a prison in Saddam Hussein's hometown that left 12 dead, including 10 guards, before dozens of inmates managed to escape from the facility, Iraqi officials said Friday.

The escaped prisoners included al-Qaida suspects, said a provincial spokesman, though he could not say whether the terror group was behind the jailbreak in Tikrit, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad.

It was the latest embarrassing security lapse in Iraq, raising questions about the Shiite-led government's ability to ensure the country's security in the wake of the U.S. troop withdrawal last December.

The prison riot erupted on Thursday night, said Mohammed al-Assi, the spokesman for Salahuddin province where Tikrit is the provincial capital. Several inmates broke into the prison storeroom, grabbing weapons that were kept there and overpowering the guards, he said.

The prisoners then engaged in a long gun battle with security troops inside the facility before breaking out hours later. By Friday morning, government troops had regained control of the prison, al-Assi said, and a curfew was imposed in Tikrit.

"Everything is under control now. Our security forces are chasing the escaped prisoners and have already recaptured some," al-Assi told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

A provincial health official, Raed Ibrahim, confirmed that 12 people died in the violence -- 10 prison guards and two inmates. He said 32 people were wounded in the clashes at the prison.

Qutaiba al-Jubouri, a lawmaker from the province, said a total of 81 inmates, including some who had been sentenced to death, managed to escape but that 36 of them were quickly recaptured.

"This is a regrettable security breach," said al-Jubouri, adding that an investigation will follow, "starting with the commanders of the security forces" at the prison.

He added that special forces were sent to Tikrit from Baghdad in order to put down the rioting. Security forces later dismantled three car bombs that were found parked near the prison.

Another lawmaker, Hakim al-Zamili, said the inmates burned all the prison records during the rioting, which will complicate efforts to track down those who escaped. He suggested the jailbreak was an inside job.

"This incident shows that Iraqi security troops are still unable to control the situation and that they are still being infiltrated by terrorists," added al-Zamili.

The Tikrit prison has been the scene of some stunning jailbreaks in the past. In 2009, 16 prisoners, including five al-Qaida-linked inmates awaiting execution, made their escape after plying open the bars on a prison bathroom window with a pipe wrench. At the time, the entire staff of the prison and the provincial prison official were detained for questioning. Six of the escaped inmates were later captured.

In 2010, a dozen detainees held on terrorism charges broke out of a prison in the southern city of Basra, disguised in police uniforms. And last year, al-Qaida smuggled weapons and grenades into a prison in Mosul, supposedly one of the country's most secure detention centers, and attempted an ultimately unsuccessful jailbreak that left 17 dead.

In Basra on Friday, gunmen shot dead the former governor, Mohammed al-Wailie, as he was driving his car in the city center, the police said. There were no immediate details or indications who was behind the attack (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Iraq Militants Attack Tikrit Prison, Freeing 90 Inmates
Date: September 28, 2012

Abstract: Armed militants have attacked a prison in the Iraqi city of Tikrit, killing at least 12 guards and freeing about 90 inmates, officials have told the BBC.

They say a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb at the gates of Tasfirat prison and clashes between militants and security guards followed.

Some of the escaped inmates were reportedly al-Qaeda members.

The prison was later retaken from the gunmen by security forces, reports say. A curfew is now in place in the area.

The security forces are trying to re-capture the prisoners.

Tasfirat holds several hundred inmates, some of them condemned to death.

'Files Destroyed'
The unidentified gunmen stormed the prison on Thursday night.

The attack lasted into the early hours of Friday, and at one stage the militants controlled all the gates of the Tasfirat prison, about 160km (100 miles) north-west of Baghdad.

But a source in the police command of Salaheddin province later said the security forces "took control of the prison", according to the AFP news agency.

Iraqi lawmaker Hakim al-Zamily was quoted in local media as saying that "hardcore" al-Qaeda militants were among those who managed to escape.

Mr Zamily, who is a member of the parliamentary security committee, said that the escapees seized documents identifying people who had provided information about them to the authorities.

The personal files on the inmates were also destroyed, he said, making it "impossible" to track them down.

In addition, the attackers reportedly took with them a police car and weapons seized from the guards.

The raid appeared to be well co-ordinated between the gunmen and some of the inmates, the BBC's Rami Ruhayem in Baghdad reports.

The prison has previously seen disturbances among the inmates. In April, police said they had uncovered a plan by some prisoners to escape.

Militants have previously targeted Iraqi prisons in similar operations (BBC, 2012).

Title: 120 Prisoners Flee In Libyan Prison Break
October 15, 2012
ABC News

Libya's Supreme Security Committee says 120 prisoners have escaped from jail in the capital city of Tripoli, where security guards are suspected of having accepted bribes to free them.

Spokesman Abdel-Moneim al-Hurr says only two of the 120 have been arrested since their escape Monday. It is the second jailbreak in Tripoli this year.

Prisoners say that since Libya's uprising, some have been languishing in prisons without charge. They also say the courts have not moved to hear their cases.

Al-Hurr says no security guards were injured during the escape, leading him to suspect the guards may have received bribes to release the detainees.

The North African country has been reeling from a security breakdown and a weakened judiciary following last year's eight-month civil war (ABC News, 2012).

Title: Authorities Say 2 Inmates Escape From Federal Prison In Downtown Chicago
December 18, 2012
Fox News

Abstract: Two convicted bank robbers were on the run after using a knotted rope or bed sheets to escape from a federal prison window high above downtown Chicago early Tuesday, a week after one of them made a courtroom vow of retribution.

The escape occurred sometime between 5 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. when the inmates were discovered missing, Chicago Police Sgt. Mark Lazarro said. Hours later, what appeared to be a rope, knotted at six-foot intervals, could be seen dangling from a window of the Metropolitan Correctional Center approximately 20 stories above the ground.

Joseph "Jose" Banks, 37, and Kenneth Conley, 38, had been wearing prison-issue orange jumpsuits, but now might be wearing white t-shirts, gray sweat pants and white gym shoes, Lazarro said.

The FBI said the men were last seen together in the Tinley Park area, about 25 miles southwest of Chicago, and that they should be considered armed and dangerous.

SWAT teams stormed a Tinley Park home early Tuesday afternoon, but the escapees were not there, FBI Special Agent Frank Bochte said. He said there was evidence the two had been there earlier, and authorities were using dogs and helicopters to search various places in the Chicago area where the two had connections.

Banks is described as a black man, 5-feet-8, weighing 160 pounds. Conley is described as white, 6 feet tall, weighing 185 pounds.

The men apparently descended from a thin window barely half a foot wide on the flat south side of the prison into the alley below. The wall faces a parking garage and is above air conditioning or heating units.

Crowds of people gathered outside the building where the ropes still blew in the breeze, shaking their heads in disbelief that someone could have escaped from a lockup in the heart of downtown Chicago, just a block or two from key federal court and office buildings.

The owners of several small shops across the street from the wall said they didn't see any police activity until around 8:30 a.m., when a dozen or more police cars and SWAT teams rushed into the area. Some police officers sprinted for a nearby subway entrance.

"It was clearly already too late. They were long gone," said Randy Cohen, owner of the Royal Jewelry and Loans store 10 or 20 yards from where the inmates scaled down the rope.

Homeland Security and U.S. Marshal's Service agents questioned him later in the morning and asked if security cameras on his building could have captured the escape or the men fleeing, Cohen said. He said he didn't think the cameras would have been pointed in the right direction.

Liquor store owner Baljit Singh has a clear view of the side of the prison where the men escaped. She said there was no indication anything was amiss when she arrived at work at 7 a.m.

The facility, which houses around 700 inmates, is one of the only skyscraper prisons in the world, said Jennifer Lucente of Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Architect Harry Weese designed the building in the mid-1970s. Its triangular shape is supposed to reduce the number of blind spots for guards, Lucente said. Each cell has a window as part of the building's humane design, she said.

Security concerns have arisen before about the lockup.

Last year, federal authorities opposed a request from attorneys for Mexican drug-cartel lieutenant Vincente Zambada -- held there on trafficking charges -- to let him out on the rooftop recreational area, where in the summer inmates can be seen playing basketball. Officials feared snipers could target Zambada or that he might try a daring escape from atop the 27-story building. He was later moved to a lockup in Michigan.

In 2010, the brother of Hollywood director Christopher Nolan was sentenced to 14 months for plotting to escape from the facility by hiding a rope made out of bed sheets in his cell. Matthew Nolan, who was being held pending an extradition request, pleaded guilty to possessing contraband in jail and obstruction of justice.

Banks, known as the Second-Hand Bandit because he wore used clothes during his heists, was convicted last week of robbing two banks and attempting to rob two more. Authorities say he stole almost $600,000 and that most of that is still missing.

After U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer convicted him, he said he would "be seeking retribution as well as damages," the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune reported.

When the judge asked how long he needed to submit a filing, Banks replied, "No motion will be filed, but you'll hear from me."

Conley pleaded guilty last October to robbing a Homewood Bank of nearly $4,000 (Fox News, 2012).

Title: At Least 22 Dead In Attempted Mexican Jail Break
December 19, 2012

Abstract: Mexican authorities on Wednesday said 22 people died in an attempted jail break in the northern state of Durango that sparked a bloody shootout between guards and inmates.

Nine guards and 13 prisoners were killed in the incident that took place in the city of Gomez Palacio on Tuesday, said Fernando Rivas, a spokesman for Durango state police.

"The number of dead could increase although we hope not. A number of guards and prisoners are currently in a critical state," he said, noting that it was possible guards were complicit in allowing the weapons to enter the prison.

Initial reports on Tuesday night indicated that 17 had died in the attempted breakout.

Gomez Palacio forms part of a metropolitan area with the city of Torreon in neighboring Coahuila, one of the Mexican states worst hit by violent drug gangs this year. Once seen as model for economic development, Torreon has become one of the country's most dangerous cities.

Mexico's penal system has endured a number of high-profile scandals in recent years, and the country's new President Enrique Pena Nieto has pledged to reform it.

In September, more than 130 inmates at a prison in Coahuila on the U.S. border staged a mass breakout. [ID:nL1E8KI0VX] The state initially said the convicts escaped through a tunnel, but later admitted they left through the front door.

At the end of 2010, more than 140 inmates escaped a prison in the border city of Nuevo Laredo. And this February, at least 44 people died in a fight between rival gangs at an overcrowded prison in northern Mexico.

Many of Mexico's prisons are filled beyond capacity and struggle to counter the influence of criminal gangs that can use their financial muscle to corrupt those in charge (Reuters, 2012).

Title: 27 Inmates Break Out From Brazilian Prison Crawling Through Its Sewage System
February 4, 2013
Fox News

Abstract: Authorities say 27 inmates escaped from a Brazilian penitentiary crawling through the sewage system.

An official at Rio de Janeiro state's Bangu prison complex told media that 31 prisoners attempted the break on Sunday. Within hours four were recaptured still inside the sewage system.

It is unclear what the prisoners were serving time for.

Rio state's Prison Affairs Department has ordered an investigation into the prison break.

The department did not respond to repeated requests for more details (Fox News, 2013).

Title: 3 Inmates Charged With Violent Crimes Captured, Without Shoes, After Escaping Missouri Jail
Date: March 13, 2013
Fox News

Abstract: Two murder suspects and a third inmate who escaped from a southeast Missouri jail were found hiding Tuesday in the cab of a truck at a salvage yard, still wearing their orange jail suits but without their shoes, authorities said.

The trio — Matthew Brandon Cook, Kade Reaves Stringfellow and Rodney Joe Green — were taken into custody around 3:30 p.m. without incident, said Missouri Highway Patrol spokesman Trooper Clark Parrott. One of the men had previously worked at the salvage yard, which was about five miles from the jail.

"The guys who were out there searching were doing a systematic search and opened up the cab and there the three of them were," Parrott said, adding that all three were wearing orange jail-issued shirts and pants but had lost their shoes.

All three men had been jailed awaiting trials. Cook and Stringfellow were facing murder charges in separate cases, while Green was facing charges for allegedly shooting and wounding a couple after breaking into their home.

The men had walked to get to the salvage yard just east of Poplar Bluff after escaping around 11:30 p.m. Monday through the ceiling of the Butler County Jail. Parrott said authorities hadn't received a tip that the men were there.

"It was just, 'Hey, where would you go if you were on the run?' Someplace familiar," Parrott said. "We have turned over every rock we could find in Poplar Bluff and southeast Butler County today. And that was just one more place for us to go look."

Parrott said the men were being interviewed, and he didn't have any information about new charges.

Cook's public defender, Ian Page, said he hadn't had a chance to talk to his client and couldn't comment. Stringfellow's attorney didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment, and no attorney was listed for Green in online court records.

Sheriff Mark Dobbs didn't immediately respond to phone messages Tuesday left by The Associated Press, but he told local media that the inmates climbed through air ducts to get out of the jail. He blamed faulty building design — walls that don't extend all the way up to the ceiling — that he said he and two previous sheriffs have tried to get fixed.

Jail employees discovered the inmates were missing a short time after the escape, said Frank Casteel, 911 director for Butler County.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol, Butler County authorities and police from neighboring counties and towns assisted in the search that extended as far as Little Rock, Ark. Schools in the town limited access and took other precautions, Poplar Bluff School District Superintendent Chris Hon said.

Cook, 29, is one of two men charged with first-degree murder, robbery and other crimes in the Feb. 19 killing of a man in a McDonald's parking lot in Advance, Mo. Court documents allege he sent a text message to the victim using the cellphone of a woman they both knew, asking Crow to meet at the restaurant. The victim was found fatally shot in his pickup truck the next day. Surveillance video helped lead police to Cook and a man who was with him.

Stringfellow, 23, of Portageville, is charged with second-degree murder in the July death of his infant son. A probable cause statement said medical workers became suspicious due to the child's injuries and inconsistent statements by Stringfellow, who claimed he had slipped and fallen while holding the infant.

Green, 40, of Poplar Bluff, is facing multiple charges for allegedly breaking into a rural Butler County home in February, holding a husband and wife at gunpoint, then shooting them after a struggle before getting away with their pickup truck. The man was struck in the thigh and his wife was shot in the hand. Both survived.

Green was captured days later after a state trooper spotted him driving on a rural road and gave chase. The chase ended when Green's car struck a utility pole and a tree (Fox News, 2013).

Title: 2 Inmates Make Daring Escape From Quebec Jail In Helicopter
Date: March 18, 2013

Abstract: Two Quebec inmates climbed up a rope into a hovering helicopter to make a daring daylight escape from a jail northwest of Montreal, authorities said, but both were later recaptured.

Quebec provincial police said early Monday they arrested four people about 30 miles north of the Saint-Jerome jail from which the inmates escaped on Sunday. Two of those arrested were 36-year-old inmate Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau and 33-year-old inmate Danny Provencal.

Hudon-Barbeau was arrested Sunday and later in the evening police had located Provencal, establishing a security perimeter around a building where he had barricaded himself.

Quebec Provincial Police Sgt. Benoit Richard said just before midnight that negotiations were continuing with Provencal and by early Monday Richard said Provencal had surrendered peacefully.

Earlier on Sunday, police received a call from the staff at the Saint-Jerome jail, reporting the escape around 2:20 p.m., Richard said.

The jail's warden told police that Hudon-Barbeau and Provencal had grabbed a rope dropped from the helicopter to make their getaway, Richard said.

Quebec provincial police tracked down the helicopter used in the escape on Sunday afternoon to Mont-Tremblant, about 53 miles away from the jail but only the chopper's pilot was still at the scene. He was taken to a local hospital and was treated for shock, Richard said. He called the pilot "an important witness" in the case.

According to a provincial police report, Hudon-Barbeau was arrested in November on two firearm related charges and associating with people who have a criminal record. The arrest came as part of an investigation of a double murder in Quebec.

A Montreal radio station, 98.5 FM, said it received a call Sunday from a man claiming to be Hudon-Barbeau, who said he was "ready to die" as he tried to evade police.

"The way they're treating me in there, it's unreal," the man told the radio station. "They won't let me be. They put me back in prison for nothing."

Authorities did not immediately respond to the claims made in the radio station interview.

Yves Galarneau, the correctional services manager who oversees the Saint-Jerome jail, said he'd never seen anything like the dramatic escape in more than three decades on the job.

Galarneau said there are no security measures in place at the jail to prevent a helicopter from swooping down from above.

"As far as I know, it's a first in Quebec," he told reporters at the scene. "It's exceptional."

Although the tactic may have been a first for Quebec, using a chopper to break out of jail has a long and colorful history, and not just in the movies.

A New York businessman, Joel David Kaplan, used a chopper to escape from a Mexican jail in 1971, and went on to write a book about it. Pascal Payet, a French prisoner, used a helicopter to escape on three occasions, only to be caught by authorities every time.

The jail at the center of Sunday's escapade in Quebec is a provincial detention center with a maximum-security wing.

Saint-Jerome jail, located about 37 miles northwest of Montreal, experienced a mini-riot by about a dozen prisoners a little over a month ago. In that incident, police were called in to secure the outside of the jail, which holds about 480 inmates, and jail staff used pepper spray to disperse the mob (RT, 2013).

Title: 120 Inmates Freed, 25 Killed In Weekend Attacks In Nigeria's Besieged Northeast
Date: March 24, 2013
Fox News

Abstract: Officials say gunmen attacked a remote town in Nigeria's northeast, killing 25 and freeing 120 inmates.

Adamawa State's head of prisons, Andrew Barka, said Sunday 120 inmates were freed in the Friday night raid in Ganye near the border with Cameroon.

Police spokesman Mohammed Ibrahim said 25 people were killed after the assailants also attacked a bank and a drinking spot.

The attacks come a week after men claiming to be members of the radical Boko Haram Islamist network said in an unverified video that they would not free a kidnapped French family unless Nigeria and Cameroon freed all the group's members from their jails (Fox News, 2013).

Title: Libyan Official Says Nearly 50 Inmates Escape Southern Prison, 1 Killed
Date: March 26, 2013
Fox News

Abstract: A Libyan security official says nearly 50 inmates have fled a prison in an oasis city in the country's southern desert, and authorities shot one dead during the escape.

The security official said the inmates broke out of the prison in Sabha early Tuesday. He said prison guards fired warning shots to stop them, which resulted in the death of one. Two others were injured.

The official said nine inmates were arrested while authorities continue the search for 36 others. The official said the prisoners were rioting against what they said were bad prison conditions, setting fire to their cells, and breaking up doors. He said they jumped over the prison wall. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media (Fox News, 2013).