Local News

Cumberland County Jail Escapee Captured;...

Posted August 8, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— The bars and the guards make it appear one of the most secure places around. But for the second time in three days an inmate from inside the Cumberland County jail escaped.

Bertha Small had no idea Damien Evans was hiding out in a closet inside her home when deputies found him. Small was sleeping at the time. Now that Evans is back in jail the sheriff's office is taking the heat but also part of the blame.

A jailer was supposed to get Darius Evans, but instead brought Damien Evans, who faces kidnapping, armed robbery and drug charges.

Sheriff "Moose" Butler admits the escape was a mistake on his office's part. Now corrective measures are being taken.

Part of the problem may be that the jail is overcrowded. It's only supposed to house 288 inmates, but at times there can be as many as 400.

"You've got them living on top of each other," Butler says. "You'll have problems. They're figuring way they can do things to outsmart the jailers. We just have to be smarter, and we will be smarter."

No one wants to see that more than the residents of the county. They put faith in the sheriff's office to keep all of the inmates locked up and behind bars.

The sheriff's office has made changes in how it handles inmates. Anyone being discharged will be sent through the holding cell. And a fax machine will be installed so there's no mistake which inmate is to be released.

Butler says mistakes will happen with severe overcrowding. Right now, the jail has about 60 inmates sleeping on the floor.

On Tuesday, another prisoner escaped for several hours when he convinced jailers he was someone else. Brian Haywood walked out of the jail when he stood in for a sleeping inmate whose bond was posted.

For now a Lieutenant and a Cumberland County jailer are both on paid leave while the sheriff's office investigates.

andJacqueline Wright