Information Regarding Absconded Inmate

I want to take a minute to apologize to the citizens of Greenwood County and explain my actions on the recent inmate work crew absconder. First and foremost, I take full responsibility for allowing Anthony Keyes (inmate) out of jail to participate on the inmate work crew. The blame is not to be put on the lack of supervision or the inmate work crew program. There is a vetting process that each inmate has to go through, and certain criteria that the inmates have to reach prior to being placed on the work program. I believe that I missed a strong piece of background information which caused this situation; however, the Greenwood County court authorized Anthony Keyes for work release. It is also expected to have some sort of an incident such as this because we are trying to rehabilitate criminals. Criminals are not the most trustworthy individuals to begin with. I want Greenwood County residents to know that absconders are a common factor in every work release/work crew program across the nation. I reached out to other agencies across the state to inquire about inmates absconding from their work programs. Each agency told me that it is a problem, and some agencies have over 20 inmates abscond each year. Fortunately Greenwood County’s program has had one absconder in the last 2 years. It’s just a chance that we must take when we are trying to help the offenders and the community.

I understand that there may be some concern in the delayed notification about the absconder from the Greenwood County inmate work crew. I started this program in early 2017 after taking office in 2016. As the Sheriff I know that I have certain responsibilities to all of my constituents. I have always strived to keep everyone safe and be as transparent as possible. I have worked diligently with our local media and our department Facebook page to be transparent as well. I believe that we have a good process that is working for both sides. This process is as follows: Press Releases come out on Monday morning for the week prior, which gives both local papers time to get the information into the paper. This process allows my deputies and I to work throughout the week and weekend to prepare any press releases we feel are necessary. Obviously, if I have an incident where I believe the community is in danger or where I request help from the community, I will post or release information earlier. There are some things that I cannot release to the public, however an absconding/escape prisoner is not one of them, but this particular incident occurred in the evening and we learned that he was already out of the immediate area (Greenwood Co.) before we could even post preliminary information. I did not feel a need to alarm the public or raise concern of the work program at this time.

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