- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Eleven D.C. Department of Corrections employees, including at least one high-level supervisor, were fired yesterday after an internal investigation into the escape of two inmates last month.

“Individuals who were either actively or involved in cooperating with those that broke out of the District jail … will be terminated immediately today,” City Administrator Robert C. Bobb said. “They are no longer on the District payroll, as of today.”

Officials declined to identify the employees or elaborate on the basis for the firings, which they said would jeopardize a pending criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Officials said they could not release the contents of the internal personnel investigation.

But Devon Brown, director of the D.C. Department of Corrections, said in an interview with WRC-TV (Channel 4) that seven of the fired workers were correctional officers, three were civilians and one was a high-level supervisor.

Mr. Brown said two of the employees were fired for helping the inmates escape and the others were fired for negligence.

Mr. Bobb said the fired employees could face criminal charges that include aiding and abetting the escape.

Ricardo Jones and Joseph Leaks escaped the city’s 30-year-old detention center in Southeast June 3.

The inmates — both suspects in the same murder case — broke into the warden’s office, smashed through the reinforced glass of a second-story office window and jumped onto a canopy before catching a shuttle bus to the Minnesota Avenue Metro station.

They were recaptured June 4 in Maryland and Virginia.

Residents near the jail said a siren that is supposed to sound during jail breaks never rang during last month’s escape.

Mr. Brown yesterday said jail officials plan to install a new siren that will be heard over a wider area.

“We will be replacing that siren with a state-of-the-art device that has increased frequency,” he said. “We are testing that siren every week now to make sure that it’s functional.”

Mr. Brown said the jail will make other security improvements, including installing more barbed-wire fences and cameras along the jail’s perimeter.

Officials also will re-examine how prisoners are classified and how they’re allowed to move within the jail, he said.

Since the escape, officials have installed four large spotlights on the jail’s roof, added an armed officer to patrol the jail’s perimeter and made plans to purchase two patrol dogs, Mr. Brown said.

Jones and Leaks were awaiting trial in the slaying of David Valentine, who was found fatally shot July 6 in front of Leaks’ residence in the 1200 block of Meigs Place in Northeast.

The D.C. Jail houses about 2,500 inmates a month.

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