DOC Employee: I'm Not The Only One To Blame For Mistaken Release

A state prison employee who resigned after mistakenly releasing an inmate accused of kidnapping and raping a woman the next day says he is not the only one to blame for the release.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Troy Smith said he did find a pending charge that would have kept the suspect Antwaan Clanton--from being released from the Halifax County Detention Center, but he didn't find that charge until 8:05 a.m. of that day. He says he is to blame because he didn't find it till then, but he also thinks cutbacks contributed to the problem.

Smith says for the past 10 years inmates were not released until 8:00 a.m., but because of cutbacks, the past six months officers have been releasing inmates earlier so they can get back to work. In this case he says Clanton was released at 7:40 a.m. So by the time he caught the mistake at 8:05 a.m. It was too late.

Smith says, "They never wanted to hear from me the things that were done on the day of his release, all they wanted to hear was that I had missed that pending charge. Even though I did catch it that morning, if the inmate had been released at the proper time that we released inmates for the past two years he would still be at the Halifax County Detention Center now and there would not be any further charges."

Smith said he was forced to resign over the incident. He had worked for the Department of Correction for around 23 years.

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A correctional case manager for the state prison system has resigned after authorities say he mistakenly released an inmate who lawmen say later raped a woman and broke into a home.

Inmate Antwaan Clanton was released last Thursday from Odom Correctional Institution at the completion of his sentence. But state officials say he should have been turned over to Halifax County authorities on pending B&E and habitual felon charges.

Authorities say after his release Clanton raped a woman at an I-95 rest area and is accused of breaking into a home in Weldon. He was caught by deputies Friday night.

James Smith, Jr., who was responsible for inmate releases at Odom was suspended Monday. The Department of Correction says procedures for inmate releases were violated during Clanton's release and that Smith resigned this morning.

Smith had worked for the prison system since August 1988.


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