Leon County Sheriff’s Office ‘reevaluating its relationship’ with private transfer company after airport escape

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – A day after tense moments at Tallahassee International Airport during a brief inmate escape, a Leon County Sheriff’s Workplace Spokesperson confirmed the company is reviewing any future use of a personal firm that payments itself as the most important personal inmate switch service within the nation.

Based on Deputy Shade McMillan, accused murderer Yuri Harris was being extradited from Missouri Wednesday when he escaped his guards round 2 p.m.

WCTV spoke with a lady who stated she was within the terminal because the occasions unfolded. Two folks had been on the rental automobile counter round 2 p.m. after they regarded round and began to shout. They ran out the door.

Minutes later, officers got here by the world asking workers to get away from their counters. A search was underway.

Based on LCSO, a Ok-9 unit ultimately discovered Harris on airport grounds. He was taken to the Leon County Detention Facility.

Court docket paperwork point out LCSO used a subsidiary of Jail Transportation Providers, or PTS of America. According to its website, PTS transports about 30,000 inmates a 12 months for 1,200 businesses. The vast majority of these transports look like by floor transportation.

Below an “various transportation” tab on its web site, PTS signifies “In instances the place it’s safer, extra environment friendly, or more cost effective to move prisoners by air, Prisoner Transportation Providers companions with industrial airways to securely transfer the people.”

LCSO confirmed Harris was on a industrial flight, however the company couldn’t touch upon the insurance policies in place to guard passengers and others in the course of the transport course of.

WCTV has reached out to PTS a number of occasions since Wednesday and has but to obtain a remark.

Paul Wright is the founding father of Human Rights Protection, a Florida-based prisoner advocacy group. He has studied PTS and different personal switch companies.

“This isn’t an remoted incident,” he stated, commenting on the Tallahassee escape.

He stated whereas escapes typically seize extra headlines, extra severe allegations have adopted PTS.

In 2019, after a number of members of congress requested for a breakdown of firm coverage, PTS President Joel Brasfield wrote the corporate was conscious of 5 inmate deaths whereas in custody from 2003-2019.

He additionally wrote “security and compliance are of utmost significance with us. We’re dedicated to doing issues proper and being an trade chief.”

It’s unclear how typically PTS conducts a switch by a industrial airline. Wright stated it appeared extremely uncommon for a personal firm to take action. Personal guards are normally unarmed, he stated. Usually, armed legislation enforcement officers would accompany inmates on flights as a substitute.

It’s unclear if the PTS employees had been armed, or how Harris was restrained in the course of the journey.

Wright stated the personal switch trade is simply flippantly regulated. “It’s like a wild west kind state of affairs, the place nobody is supervising these firms or making them meet any type of requirements.”

A federal legislation from 2000 points a collection of broad tips for these firms to comply with, though it solely contains obscure language about air journey. Firms should comply with common FAA tips.

Deputy McMillan stated LCSO has used this firm for years to move “tens” of inmates. However now an inner overview is underway, evaluating forward of any future transfers.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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