An escaped male inmate from the Fort Smith Correctional Complex on April 30 was the second one from a secure facility on record in the Northwest Territories, according to the GNWT Department of Justice.

The territorial government issued a news release on May 3 stating that a male jail occupant fled on April 30 but was found at a Fort Smith residence and returned to custody the next day.

Julie Plourde, department spokesperson, said there have now been two escapes by male prisoners reported since 2004-‘05, however, there have also been four youth who have gotten away from secure custody youth facilities since 2010.

In August 2016, Denecho King broke out of the Yellowknife jail, which led to a three-day search before he was returned to custody.

The department would not delve into the specific circumstances of the most recent incident, including what convictions the escaped individual has on his record.

“Due to privacy considerations, the Department of Justice is not releasing personal information that could identify the inmate,” Plourde stated.

“When an escape occurs, the department notifies the RCMP.

“The RCMP would then conduct an assessment, taking into consideration risk to the public to determine whether releasing the inmate’s information is required.”

Plourde stated that the GNWT’s Corrections Service will conduct a critical incident review of the incident, which will look at the hours or days before the incident, the actual incident and the time after, in order to examine factors that may have led up to the escape; along with recommendations for improvements that must be made.

“The department can confirm that inmates will not have access to the location where the escape occurred at the Fort Smith Correctional Complex until necessary security improvements have been made following recommendations from the critical incident review,” Plourde stated.

She said it’s important that the territorial government gets to the bottom of the occurrence because the employer has to protect and keep safe correctional workers as well as the inmates and the public.

Questions were submitted to the Union of Northern Workers on May 5 to get a reaction to the escape and what the breach means for the safety of its members who work in corrections. No immediate responses were provided.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Simon can be reached at...

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