CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WHDH) — An emergency meeting is set to get underway for the Wyatt Detention Facility’s Board of Directors.
They will be discussing security matters after James Morales escaped. The meeting will take place to answer the all-important question: How did this happen?
Morales escaped from facility on New Year’s Eve, and now the board members that oversee the prison in Central Falls, Rhode Island expect details.
The warden tells 7News that Morales broke out around 7 p.m., by climbing the basketball net in the recreation yard, using a makeshift tool to cut through fencing and razor wire. He then allegedly walked the roof of the prison until he got to the front where the ceiling dips down, and then jumped two stories down to the street.
The warden says Morales cut himself on the razor wire and bloodied his prison uniform. State Police then found that prison uniform by the railroad tracks.
It is believed from there he stole a running and open car a mile and a half away.
There were 29 correction officers and 513 inmates in the facility on that night. The warden says guards noticed Morales was missing at 10:30 p.m., but it took them 1 hour and 15 minutes to alert authorities.
Two correction officers were put on paid administrative leave while the situation is investigated.
The meeting is set to start at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
State Police confirmed on Twitter around 4 p.m. on Thursday, that Morales has been captured.
The detention center’s Board Chairman, Luke Gallant, made the following comments:
“Good evening and thank you to everyone for attending this important emergency meeting of the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation.
Our number one priority is the safety and security of our community. That means the safety of residents in our host community of Central Falls and nearby cities and towns, the safety of our correctional officers, the safety of officers from our partner law enforcement agencies, and the safety of our inmates.
Unfortunately, on December 31, 2016 at approximately 7:00 PM an inmate, James Morales, escaped from the Wyatt Detention Facility.
As the Chairman of the Board and as a retired police officer and corrections professional myself, I want to express that this situation is completely unacceptable. We understand the deep concerns and many questions that community members and the media have raised since the incident. Indeed, we have many of the exact same questions about what happened, how it happened, and how we can improve the Wyatt so an incident like this never occurs again.
That is why the Board has directed Warden Daniel Martin and his staff to conduct a top to bottom review of every aspect of the December 31st escape. The Warden and his team are now in the process of interviewing every correctional officer on duty that day, every prisoner in the escaped detainee’s cell block, as well as reviewing all of our operational procedures and security measures.
As a result of preliminary findings, three correctional officers and one lieutenant have been suspended with pay.
This investigation is ongoing and we are cooperating fully with the U.S. Marshals Office, the Rhode Island State Police, and the Central Falls Police Department.
I can assure you that once completed, a full report will be made available once it has been shared with, reviewed, and cleared by the U.S. Marshals Office.
I know that many of you are eager for immediate answers, and this is understandable. However, many of the questions being asked relate to highly sensitive information regarding prison protocols and security measures. In several cases, we cannot share these specifics because they would put our correctional officers and the public at risk.
We are doing our best to balance these security concerns with our duty to inform community members and the media about the details of what occurred on December 31st. We therefore ask for your patience as Warden Martin completes his ongoing investigation into the incident.
I want to reiterate that we will make this investigation report public once it has been shared with, reviewed, and cleared by the U.S. Marshals Office.
Regarding Warden Martin, I want to state that the Board of the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation fully supports his leadership during this difficult time. The Warden is a consummate corrections professional and we have full faith in the investigation he is now conducting.
Finally, I want to take a moment to publicly thank our partner law enforcement agencies. The Central Falls Police Department, the Rhode Island State Police, the Massachusetts State Police and the Massachusetts law enforcement community swung into immediate action upon being notified of the escape situation. We deeply appreciate the resources and mutual aid they offered in responding to the December 31st incident.
As I have stated, many of the details of this incident and ongoing investigation are highly sensitive. The Board will therefore now go into executive session to discuss these matters.
In closing, the inmate escape incident which occurred on December 31st is totally unacceptable. We are committed to getting to the bottom of what occurred, sharing our findings with our partners, the public, and the media, and to developing a corrective action plan to ensure an incident like this never again happens at the Donald Wyatt Detention Facility.”
Watch the press conference here:
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