Prison Escape
6:37 pm
Sun April 29, 2012

One OPP escapee still being sought after slipping under fence Saturday night

One of two inmates who escaped from Orleans Parish Prison Saturday is back in custody, though authorities were still searching for the other earlier today, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Sherrick Brumfield, 27, who was awaiting trial on second degree battery charges, remains free.   Reginald Young, 22, was being held on armed robbery, kidnapping, and other charges. Young surrendered to authorities at 2:13 a.m. Sunday.

The inmates pulled away fencing in the recreation yard of the new Temporary Detention Center portion of the jail complex to escape, according to a statement from Sheriff Marlin Gusman. The center has been open just six weeks.

It is located at 3000 Perdido Street near where South Jefferson Davis Parkway bridges Interstate 10. Its warden is Maj. Wayne Watzke.

The 400-bed dormitory jail was opened in March as a transitional facility as Gusman builds a new, 1438 bed jail next door.

The facility is bounded by chain-link fence topped with razor wire, and inmates in orange jumpsuits are often visible playing basketball in the yard. A Lens reporter toured the facility earlier this month and observed a re-entry program being conducted in the main dormitory room.  It is a clean, open, sunny facility.

The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office has been sued by prisoner-rights advocates in recent weeks over conditions in other jail buildings in the Orleans Parish Prison system. Federal Justice Department officials issued a withering report this month over unconstitutional treatment of inmates.

A lack of deputy staffing has been a consistent theme in reports critical of the jail.

Gusman spokesman Mark Ehrhardt, citing an ongoing investigation of the incident, said he could not answer questions about how many deputies were on duty  Saturday night.

Earlier this month, Gusman announced the closing of the nearby House of Detention, and he began shifting prisoners to other facilities, both within the Orleans Parish Prison and to state prisons. The federal government recently removed all of its prisoners from the system, and last week , federal immigration officials removed undocumented immigrants being held in the jail, citing unacceptable conditions.