The Investigators: DOC says inmate accidentally released due to employee's mistake

The Investigators: DOC says inmate accidentally released due to employee's mistake
Benjuiel Johnson (Source: Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office)
Benjuiel Johnson (Source: Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office)
Emanuel Jones (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)
Emanuel Jones (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - In nearly a four-month span, the Louisiana Department of Corrections (DOC) released two inmates who should not have been released. The Investigators requested results of the latest release for months and an interview with Department Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc.

"He didn't escape. You let him go. You all opened the doors and let him out of there," said Fracel Johnson.

Fracel Johnson sat down with The Investigators in September 2015 after her son Benjuiel Johnson was accidentally released by the DOC from Dixon Correctional Institute.

Johnson was supposed to serve 40 years for manslaughter and illegal possession of a firearm charges, but less than five years into his sentence, an employee at DCI told Johnson he was getting out early because of good behavior. So he bonded out in September.

It took five days for DOC to realize their mistake. The hunt was then on for Johnson.

"It's not his fault. It's not his fault. You all told him he was released. You let him out, and now you're hunting him like a dog, like he escaped from prison or something," Fracel Johnson said.

Benjuiel Johnson was captured within a few days at a motel near Atlanta.

More than three months later, DOC released their findings on Jan. 15, 2016, blaming the release on human error, not on their procedures. The department said its employee was given the equivalent to a two-weeks suspension without pay.

Then there was another inmate, Emanuel Jones, who snuck out of the West Baton Rouge Parish work release facility, committed a crime in Baton Rouge, which included him allegedly stuffing a person in the trunk of a vehicle, and then snuck back into jail.

He was later transferred to the Elayn Hunt Prison, but was then accidentally released by a worker there.

Since that incident, The Investigators have repeatedly sent emails to DOC asking about the latest incident. Just last week, we got a response saying "there will be multiple employees recommended for disciplinary action."

So far though, only one employee has received a disciplinary letter.

On Dec. 15, 2015, you were assigned to work the Control Center Transfer Desk. On this date, at 8:46 p.m., a message was sent to EHCC from the Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) directing the institution to place a hold on Offender Emanuel Ray Jones and requesting acknowledgment of the receipt of the message. The BRDP (sic) had an active warrant issued on December 15, 2016 by the 19th JDC under file No. 110788-15, and signed by Judge Trudy White. The message was not acknowledged and was forwarded to Probation and Parole. This message was not intended for Probation and Parole, but rather was a request to place a hold on the offender for BRPD upon the offender's discharge from EHCC. Subsequently, Offender Jones released in error on January 28, 2016. This release in error could have been prevented had the message from BRPD been properly routed to the EHCC Record's Department instead of Probation and Parole.

The employee may be suspended for two days, but has 30 days to appeal.

Regarding an interview, Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc said he prefers to wait until the investigation is completed.

On a mobile device? Click the link to see the previous stories about Benjuiel Johnson and Emanuel Jones -

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