Jailer says inmate took advantage of lapse

HOUSTON, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Lapses in discipline and supervision may explain how death row inmate Charles Thompson walked out of a Texas jail with relative ease earlier this month.

A veteran jailer and others with access to the Harris County Jail's secure areas say detention officers routinely leave their posts before the end of their shifts, the Houston Chronicle reported.


The jailer, who did not want to be named for fear of retaliation, said some jailers play video games and nap while on duty.

A department spokesman said policy dictates that jail employees remain on duty until they are relieved, and the same rule applies to supervisors.

"I don't have any direct knowledge of people leaving early. Especially if they haven't been relieved," said Lt. John Martin, a spokesman for the Harris County Sheriff's Office, which operates the jail. "If that is the case, of course, we need to take appropriate administrative action."

Deputies on duty Nov. 3, the day of the escape, have been questioned in the department's internal affairs investigation, the newspaper said.

Thompson had been on death row since his 1999 conviction for the slayings of his former girlfriend and her new boyfriend.


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