State Stops Using Inmates on Trash Crews Following Inmate Problems

State Stops Using Inmates on Trash Crews Following Inmate Problems

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Alex Cabrero ReportingThe state is calling off its inmate work crew program. It seems the Department of Corrections has been having problems with inmates escaping in the past few months. Another recent attempted escape is changing who picks up litter on state highways and roads.

We've all seen inmates picking up trash along the interstate; it's easy to see them in their orange jumpsuits. However, when two inmates tried running away during the morning rush hour in Utah County recently, only one man called 911.

Dave Hill has seen a lot driving up and down I-15 through the years. What he saw a couple of weeks ago was a first.

Hill says, "It did concern me that two state prisoners were leaving the work group just on their own. I knew that's not allowed."

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Right at exit 261, the Springville exit, Hill saw two prisoners in their orange jumpsuits run across the interstate, and they weren't moving slow.

"The way they were running, they should've been in the Olympics," Hill said.

Turns out the two men were on a work crew picking up garbage when they decided to make a break for it. Hill called 911, and the two were caught a little while later nearby at the Flying J truck stop.

Because of that incident and other escapes the department of corrections has been dealing with lately, inmates will no longer be used on work crews, something the department of transportation agrees with, even if it costs them some money.

Adan Carrillo, with the Utah Dept. of Transportation, said, "We're saving a little bit of money that way. Without their help, UDOT would probably be incurring into the million and a half figure a year. Right now we're keeping it under $800,000 a year, it's a big difference."

But the state figures it's better to pay more now than pay later.

"One of the gentlemen from the Department of Corrections called me later and said, ‘We appreciate you calling. If you hadn't called, they probably would've got away,'" Hill said.

When those two inmates were caught, they just told police they were just going to the store to buy soda. It doesn't look like anybody is buying that story.

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