By: Matt Horn
November 4, 2013
Less than a month after two killers were fraudulently released from a prison in the Panhandle, lawmakers are now demanding answers. The state is looking to see if more inmates have been released by mistake.
A month ago Floridians were on high alert after two convicted killers were mistakenly released from a prison in the Panhandle because of forged release forms.
“It sounds like a big mistake,” said James Hahl in October. “It’s just not right.”
Now lawmakers like Senator Rob Bradley want answers behind the big mistake.
“I will tell you one thing,” said Senator Rob Bradley. “It is embarrassing for all of those who were involved because it’s unacceptable.”
Monday afternoon officials with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Clerk of Courts and Department of Corrections were meeting with lawmakers. Corrections Secretary Michael Crews says they are working to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
“We’ve got to make sure that we’re all working collectively together; because ultimately, this was a public safety issue,” said Michael Crews, Department of Corrections Secretary.
The DOC has 40 people across Florida looking to make sure are not any other fraudulent escape cases. After the release the DOC enacted a new rules to make sure felons do not wrongfully walk away from state prisons.
“Before we release any inmate – that we will ask the judge to authenticate that order was valid,” said Crews.
Several hearings are scheduled this week. Lawmakers say they’re going to keep asking the tough questions because at the end of the day they say the escape was a public safety issue.
“We in the Florida Senate are particularly outraged about what occurred and that is why we’re having these hearings,” said Bradley.
Lawmakers say after the meetings they will be able to gauge what all needs to be enacted to prevent a similar situation.
The Clerk of Courts is also reviewing their processes and FDLE is still investigating the wrongful release from October.