- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The Latest on the ongoing investigation into the escape of two inmates in New Mexico (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

A union representative says an officer had recognized that two New Mexico guards were fatigued the day a pair of violent felons escaped, and told them they could take naps as they worked a more than 18-hour shift transporting inmates across the state.

Miles Conway, a union spokesman, said Tuesday that the Department of Corrections telling guards to sleep while another drives “flies in the face of policy.” His comments came about a month after inmates Joseph Cruz and Lionel Clah fled a prisoner transport van.

The guards logged more than 10-hour shifts in the days leading up to the escape in New Mexico, where Corrections officials have wrestled with a severe staffing shortage.

Officials are conducting an internal investigation into the escape. Conway says the union’s review has consisted largely of consulting with its members.

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11:20 a.m.

A union spokesman says state officials have withdrawn firing notices for two guards who were transporting inmates across New Mexico last month when two escaped.

Miles Conway, a spokesman for the union, said Department of Corrections officials recently rescinded the notices sent several weeks ago.

A corrections spokeswoman at the time said that an independent analysis of the escape suggested the officers failed to follow security protocols. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Conway says state officials could still fire the guards, who have been on leave since the March 9 escape of Joseph Cruz and Lionel Clah, both violent felons.

Authorities say the men fled the back of a prison van at a rural gas station. They were apprehended days later in Albuquerque.

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Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, https://www.sfnewmexican.com

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