Escape from parish jail is short-lived

Published 10:37 am Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A brief escape from the Washington Parish Jail Saturday left a man facing up to an additional five years in prison, and put a spotlight on the need for a new jail, according to Sheriff Randy Seal.

Joe Thomas McAnally, 31, was arrested on charges of domestic violence, failure to appear for resisting an officer, and criminal trespassing. He was brought to the jail after 1:30 p.m. and handcuffed to a rail outside the booking area to await the booking process.

“He was somehow able to slip his hand through the handcuff and then bolted through the main jail door, which has a malfunctioning lock,” said Chief Deputy Mike Haley, WPSO spokesman. “The escape was immediately noticed by jail staff who implemented the jail’s escape procedures at 1:51 p.m.”

Sheriff’s deputies, officers with the Franklinton Police Department and the Rayburn Correctional Center canine team took part in the search which focused on the swampy area behind the jail and adjacent to the Bogue Chitto River.

“McAnally was apprehended in a thick wooded area south of the jail at 4:11 p.m. by the Rayburn Canine Unit, and transported back to the jail,” said Haley. “At the jail, McAnally was examined by Northshore EMS and locked down.

“He will be prosecuted for simple escape, which carries a penalty of incarceration from two to five years.”

If convicted, McAnally must serve the escape conviction in addition to any other jail or prison time he receives, Haley said.

Sheriff Randy Seal praised responding officers and said the malfunctioning lock needs to be repaired.

“I want to personally thank all Washington Parish deputies, Franklinton police officers, and Rayburn Correctional Center officers who responded so quickly,” he said. “The Rayburn canine unit is a tremendous asset to all law enforcement agencies in Washington Parish and I thank Warden Tanner, Assistant Warden Bickham and all of their staff who are so willing to assist us at any time.

“The malfunctioning lock is a reminder that the jail building is inadequate for today’s needs. The door itself has been repaired and the lock is on a ‘to do’ list for parish government, which has been working to repair all aspects of the facility. But available funds are an obstacle.”

The sheriff added that his jail staff is “carefully reviewing all procedures” in an attempt to prevent future escapes.