Sheriff Wants Help Transporting Criminals - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

07/29/04 - Angelina County

Sheriff Wants Help Transporting Criminals

By Ramonica R. Jones

The woman accused of helping an inmate escape from the Angelina County Jail Wednesday now faces charges of her own.

Authorities charged Chanel Garner with hindering apprehension. Deputies say she drove up behind the jail where a group of inmates were being transported. One of those inmates got into the car with Garner and the pair took off. But Garner and Tyrone Taylor didn't get very far. Just minutes after the botched escape, Garner crashed her car into a tree and took off into the woods with Taylor. Both were arrested 45 minutes later.

Taylor is in jail on hundreds of thousands of dollars bond. Garner's bond is set at $50,000.

There are only two transport deputies in Angelina County. One deputy can be responsible for up to 16 inmates at a time. Sheriff Kent Henson says that's unreasonable, and unsafe. He says Wednesday's escape may have been prevented if there'd been at least one more deputy on staff.

When inmates arrive in the unloading area, all doors are supposed to be closed. Sheriff Henson says, that didn't happen Wednesday. At the time of the escape, there was only one deputy in charge of 13 inmates.

"We had one person in the control," Henson says. "That one person is in charge of running every door inside the place, and when you mash one of the buttons to open the door, (or) one of the inmates needs something, that one person's in charge of all that. You got nine different cameras that they have to monitor at all times, and it's hard to keep up with everything at all times."

Transport deputies take inmates from jail to court, and now that the Rusk State Hospital is full, they now have to take inmates all the way to El Paso for mental treatment. In addition to hotel fees and gas mileage...that's something the county can't afford to do.

"The base salary for a deputy is $25,000," Sheriff Henson says. "The benefit packages run $37,000."

Sheriff Henson says he requested two more transport deputies for next year.

He says Chanel Garner helped Tyrone Taylor plan his escape the day before it happened. He says she was able to visit with him at court Wednesday, just before he was sentenced to prison.

Sheriff Henson says if you have a loved one in jail, they are still in custody when they're at the courthouse and no visitation is allowed.

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