Another WBR work release inmate walks off job

(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Another West Baton Rouge work release inmate has reportedly walked off the job, officials confirm.

Deputies are actively searching for work release inmate. They say he walked off his job in East Baton Rouge Wednesday morning around 8 a.m.

David Graham, 34, of Leesville, was serving time for a drug charge and had about a year and a half left in his sentence, according to West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office Col. Riche Johnson.

This is the third West Baton Rouge work release inmate to walk off the job or escape in just the last month.

On Monday, deputies caught 34-year-old Rickey Lake in the woods in Erwinville. They said he escaped through a window at the West Baton Rouge work release facility.

Meanwhile, on February 19, authorities caught up with 24-year-old Mertis Wade at a Mardi Gras parade in Metairie after he walked off his job.

"It's the nature of the beast – the walk-offs – you're not going to prevent the walk-offs from a job site," Johnson said.

Johnson also said that while ankle bracelets may seem like the obvious way to cut back on escapes, they will not work. "That sounds great, and that feels good if you want to be politically correct," Johnson said. "But if I'm going to walk-off, I'm going to cut the bracelet and walk-off."

Even with the escapes, Johnson said he believes the program is worth it. He said it saves taxpayers money in the long-run because work release inmates pay for their own housing, food, transportation, and more. He also said they are overall less likely to become repeat offenders.

"They've got a plan, versus you get out of jail tomorrow and you hitch-hike down the road. What's going to happen? Are you more likely to go re-offend? Maybe so," Johnson said. "So I defend the program because I think it is a good program. I think the numbers show it is a good program."

Statewide, Johnson said there are approximately 8,700 work release inmates. They are admitted into the program by the Department of Corrections. Once he is recaptured, Graham will be kicked out of the work release program. He will then face an additional six months to a year behind bars.

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