RI Inmate Turns Self in After Mistaken Release

CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) – An inmate mistakenly released from Rhode Island's state prison has turned himself in after officials realized the error.

Tracey Zeckhausen, a spokeswoman for the Adult Correctional Institutions, says 23-year-old Leonard Martin of Woonsocket was released Thursday after being arrested on two nonviolent charges.

He had been ordered released on a larceny charge, but was ordered held on $1,000 surety bail for a possession charge. She says staff apparently misinterpreted the paperwork.

Zeckhausen says Martin thought he was free to go, but after the error was discovered, turned himself in Thursday afternoon in Providence.

Zeckhausen says the prison is investigating.

Last month, an ACI inmate escaped when he impersonated another prisoner who was supposed to be released. He was caught this month.
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The ACI issued the following statement regarding the release of Mr. Martin:

” The release process is sensitive and confidential and involves security, which is the reason we didn't go public with specific discussions about it after the Gadson release and won't now. Our Records & ID staff has to interpret paperwork from a dozen courts which can be very complicated. While the investigation is ongoing, this appears to be staff misinterpretation of paperwork.

This is a very different set of circumstances from the Nayquan Gadson escape. Mr. Martin was not complicit, had non-violent charges, and turned himself in quietly and without incident once he learned we were looking for him.

We have taken steps since the Gadson release: The I.R.I.S. scanning technology is being tested. We have conducted audits to tighten procedures and are implementing the changes. Gadson was an unusual case and a cause for concern for the public. He was able to deceive us as to his identity. I.R.I.S. scanning technology will prevent that from happening in the future. We have revised policies and procedures, making some changes and looking at others. After this investigation we will know whether other changes need to be made.

We have had approximately 180,000 releases over the course of the last ten years. The situation with Nayquan Gadson was the only one of its kind in all that time. Some other releases have been due to administrative error but in every case the inmate was returned to our custody successfully and without incident.”

Corrections Director A.T. Wall