State News

NC prison worker quits after releasing inmate by mistake

Posted July 20, 2011
Updated July 21, 2011

— A North Carolina prison worker has resigned after mistakenly releasing an inmate accused of kidnapping and raping a woman the next day.

Authorities say caseworker James Smith Jr. was supposed to release Antwaan Clanton, 38, to Halifax County deputies on July 14 after he finished serving 16 months at the Odom Correctional Facility on fraud and drug charges. He had outstanding arrest warrants in Halifax County for a 2010 break-in.

Instead, Smith failed to check a court database for pending charges, and Clanton was set free, prison officials said.

Roanoke Rapids police said that Clanton carjacked a woman who had stopped to rest in the parking lot of the Halifax Medical Center around 1 p.m. on July 15. He forced her into the back seat, drove to a location where he raped her and then left her and the car in the Carolina Crossroads area, police said.

Clanton was arrested later that night by Halifax County sheriff's deputies, who said they found him carrying bags of items stolen during a home break-in in Weldon earlier that day.

Clanton was charged with first-degree rape, first-degree sex offense, first-degree kidnapping, breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, possession of stolen goods, injury to real property and resisting a public officer.

He remains in the Halifax County Detention Center under a $281,000 secured bond. It was unclear if he had an attorney.

Clanton has more than three dozen convictions dating to 1991 and has spent more than 13 years of the past 20 behind bars, according to state Department of Correction records.

He has numerous break-in and larceny convictions, as well as assault with a deadly weapon, assault on a child, assault on a female and selling drugs, records state.


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  • klking1130 Jul 21, 2011

    Re: I suppose the prison worker will become a deputy now since it seems that they somehow stay in the system.

    WRONG airbornemonty!!! I'm sure Mr. Smith resigned because the "Good ole' Boy" system is alive and well at DOC and he was smart enough to know he was going to take the "fall" for this MISTAKE!

    Re: You hear about some of the stuff that goes on with DOC but there is so much stuff you don't hear about. Especially when
    it comes to the tops dogs at DOC's favorite sites. Nothing is ever printed or any media coverage given...DOC has their
    favorites...GOOD OLE BOYS at WORK!!!
    carsonlester58 are so correct!!! DOC is an extremely political Department in NC. How many b**ts did the Superintendant at Odom have to kiss to get his position?? Will he take the fall for this inmates release? NOT going to happen!! you think somebody will FINALLY check into who gets promoted and who takes the fall with DOC in NC???

  • bassntbyting Jul 20, 2011

    you4me DCI search will check for warrents state wide not just the county he is being released to. If a detainer was on file the state would have had it on record and this mistake would not have happened warrents have to be found thru dci check.

  • mlbrisson Jul 20, 2011

    Check out the Daily Herald @ Correctional officer breaks silence.

  • you4me Jul 20, 2011

    What a bad thing to happen to anyone. My heart goes out to everyone. First of all (bassntbyting) comments from 07-20-11...they don't need a DIC operator to do checks they can call the county holding the detainer on the inmate. With this issue Mr. Smith was not a case manager and hasn't been trained to be one. He was put in this position by the management at Odom and they should be the one's to answer this issue. Again, why wasn't Mr. Smith trained to be a case manager? I feel this is a perfect example why someone should investigate DOC and how they operator. The public would be horrified if they knew just how DOC operates. People it's no security in these prisons. I once worked for DOC and I don't anymore not because I did't do my job but because the way DOC wants you to do your job. Gov. Bev is taken positions from the prison and your haven't seen anything yet... I feel more is yet to come. All the political games that is going on they need to stop and look at DOC. The Highway Patrol

  • pja1357 Jul 20, 2011

    This is where I don't believe in us paying for him to stay in prison the rest of his life. Lets go back to hanging them in the streets. Might be a big eye opener for some of these kids that are breaking the law. It is costing way too much to house these type criminals that will never make anything of themselves.

  • ewcheercoach Jul 20, 2011

    Coach K- I don't think anyone would be sitting in his place. real American was saying that his wife would have used her legally concealed weapon to defend her life. She wouldn't be arrested for that.

    And yes- I say we gas them all and the the Lord sort them out.

  • Coach K is still GREAT Jul 20, 2011

    I have seen several posts from former DOC employees. Never realized how understaffed /mismanaged our correction system is. That's disturbing! As for this criminal, he has spent 13 out of the last 20 years behind bars. There is no rehabilitating someone like this. Lucky for him it wasnt my Wife that he decided to victimize... There would have one less criminal in the area. God bless the CCW for law abiding citizens.
    GOLO member since August 14, 2007
    July 20, 2011 9:35 a.m.
    Ignore Report abuse

    Unfortunately, you're wrong... this monster may be gone, but you'd be right there in his place...these criminals don't care about rehabilitation... they just care about doing their own thing and DON'T care who they hurt in the process... I say... we put them all in a big tank and turn on the gas!

  • bassntbyting Jul 20, 2011

    Odom does not even have Dci machine to check for warrants they have to depend on another prison to run checks, If Halifax county had warrants on this man why wasn't a detain filed by the county. A warden lost his job because an inmate was hiding in a prison construction yard for the weekend, within the confines of the perimeter. this man gets out and rapes and the little man loses his but not the warden come on people

  • carsonlester58 Jul 20, 2011

    If you are referring to my comment "friends helping friends", I only meant that friends were covering for other friends that are employed by DOC. Nothing to do with the inmates. You don't hear about the mistakes or incidents that happen at other facilities that are managed by friends of the top 3 positions in the DOC.

    I am sorry for prison worker. DOC should have more staffing and checks and balances but all to often they don't. The state wants to cut budgets for departments that are needed but don't want to cut contracts with these private prisons due to the friendship of those in charge of making the budget for the DOC with the contract prisons. GOOD OLE BOYS!!! alive and well in NC!

  • Boob Ethridge Jul 20, 2011

    "afternoondliter" It's called Sarcasm, look the word up in the dictionary. Oh yea, lighten up Francis.....