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Honor Farm inmate jumps fence, then jumps back

Sep 3, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

An inmate at the Wyoming Honor Farm has been segregated while officials investigate a report that someone was trying to escape the facility Saturday afternoon.

All inmates were accounted for within 40 minutes of the initial call, which came in at just before 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

"There was a citizen (who said) there may be a problem with one of the inmates," warden Michael Pacheco said Tuesday. "(The inmate) was in an area he shouldn't have been in."

He wouldn't release any information about the inmate in question.

"I'm not sure I've got the right guy," he said, though he added, "It was one of our inmates."

'Jumped the fence'

Pacheco said officials are investigating whether any inmates were authorized to be in the area near 40 Honor Farm Road where the "suspicious person" call was reported.

The woman who initially called police said she saw the subject on Honor Farm Road "where the ditch runs" by a "low spot in (the) fence." She said he "jumped the fence, and once he saw her he jumped back over (the) fence and was running back toward (the) honor farm in the ditch."

She said she contacted a guard in the area about the sighting, describing the inmate as approximately 25 years old measuring about 5 feet, 7 inches tall with dirty blond hair. He reportedly was wearing a red shirt and jeans. She said she took a picture of him as he was running away from her, and she was asked to show the photo to staff at the Honor Farm.

Law enforcement officials said they spoke to the guard, who confirmed that a subject "did jump back over the gate and ran back into the honor farm."

Pacheco said his staff initiated an emergency head count of all of the inmates and determined that everyone was safe and accounted for.

Internal probe

"We are doing an internal investigation to figure out if there was a problem (and if so) what we need to do, what action needs to be taken," Pacheco said. "We're just starting this today."

Riverton Police Department officers were on scene to assist, but they said they weren't needed. Pacheco thanked RPD chief Mike Broadhead for the officers' availability regardless.

"We're a minimum custody facility; we don't have a big fence around the entire institution," Pacheco said. "We're part of the community, and we want to make sure the community is safe. That's why we do these things in partner with the police department."

According to the Wyoming Department of Corrections, the Honor Farm prepares inmates for re-entry into society by offering structured work environments while teaching accountability and life management skills. The facility houses 283 adult male offenders.

"All these inmates will be returning to society," Pacheco said. "The public is in no danger; nobody's left the grounds."

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