Yet More Inmates Wrongly Released From County Prison in PA

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A privately run correctional facility in Delaware County, Pennsylvania is coming under fire once again for having mistakenly released inmates because of employee or clerical errors.

Earlier this summer, Taaqi Brown, 21, a murder suspect in custody at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility, was released after a prison employee mixed up his name with that of his brother, Taariq, who was also being held there on minor charges, and who was scheduled to be released. After his mother told him that giving himself up was “the right thing to do,” Brown surrendered to Philadelphia police the next day. The employee who released him was fired.

Now, the United States Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force is searching for two others who were set free by mistake. David Wilson, 19, of Chester, PA was convicted in July of a firearms violation and was being held in Hill Correctional Facility pending his sentencing, which was to have taken place two weeks after his recent release. The mix-up in his case occurred because the prison never received a fax from the county Office of Judicial Report, letting them know that his bail had been revoked. Still, said prison Superintendent John Reilly Jr., an employee of the prison should have double-checked that Wilson was cleared for release.

“They don’t have a process in place to accurately accept all these documents,” Reilly said, referring to the thousands of documents relating to prisoner status that the facility receives every week. “It’s a longstanding problem with the records department being able to process the volume.”

Another prisoner, Ateia Polk, 32, of Philadelphia, because a prison employee misunderstood the judge’s order, thinking that “no bail” meant that the prisoner could leave without posting bail or bond. Polk had been in custody pending trial on robbery, assault and other offenses. She was accused of stealing jewelry from a beauty salon and threatening the owner with a hairpin.

The George W. Hill Correctional Facility is operated by the New Jersey-based Community Education Centers, which assumed operation of the county prison last year, after another operating group left its contract due to “financial under performance and frequent litigation.” Hill is the only privately run county prison in the state.

A spokesperson for CEC, Christopher Greeder, said that “the matter in under review and the company is working closely with the county,” but otherwise refused to comment.

According to a county official, two additional inmates have been wrongly allowed to walk free in recent months.

 

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