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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  • by uh Location: Greenville on Jul 21, 2011 at 02:06 PM
    Another government employee not taking responsibility for his mistake. What else is new? If we paid more for people with these types of high responsibility, we would be able to select only the most qualified candidates, reduce turnover and ultimately have less mistakes like this, which cost us much more.
    • reply
      by Carl Kolchack on Jul 21, 2011 at 07:12 PM in reply to uh
      You have no idea what you're talking about. He admitted he made a mistake, he's now talking about the process of releasing inmates and ensuring they are cleared. Judgments, sentences, DOC Policy and even pending charges can become extremely complicated, compound that with good/merit time and it's even more ridiculous. It's truly a miracle this doesn't happen more often. If no one listens to what he is saying this WILL happen again.
    • reply
      by DOC wife on Jul 21, 2011 at 07:50 PM in reply to uh
      Uh, evidently you have not read the information provided. Mr. Smith took responsibility for mistakenly overlooking the charges on the 79 pages of history. Also, as stated several times in the articles, Mr. Smith had been doing this job for approximately 10 years. I think that makes him a very qualified candidate. Charges are one thing and a detainer is something else. Maybe you need to not only be more investigative before you speak but also take responsiblity for your ignorance.
  • by Carl Kolchack Location: Pitt County on Jul 20, 2011 at 08:08 PM
    He's absolutely correct, he is not the only one to blame. Halifax Co. DA's office, DOC Admin, right on up to Gov. Dumplin and her predecessors share in the blame, only for the inmate not being released to the custody of the Halifax Co. Sheriff. But no one at any of these agencies caused this POS to rape someone.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 20, 2011 at 07:58 PM
    Why everbody gots to be so hateful agin.This man be turnt lose by the man.They be the one be done let him go fought.If they not turnt him lose this wood never happen.It be that dumb mans fought that do this.Aint no way it be this guy to blame.He be acking on instink!
    • reply
      by Really???? on Jul 21, 2011 at 01:26 AM in reply to
      Exactly who speaks this way? Certainly i've heard a lot of stupidity but i've never heard ANYONE speak this way not African American, Caucasian Hispanic or any other race for that matter. Comedian doesn't work well for you so stop trying. It's 2011 not the 1960's give it up already.
      • reply
        by Mike on Jul 21, 2011 at 01:15 PM in reply to Really????
        You must have never visited eastern North Carolina then.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jul 21, 2011 at 03:38 PM in reply to Mike
          I actually live in Eastern NC. As i said I've heard a lot of ignorance but this "anonoymous" person is really trying to be funny and he/she sounds ridiculous.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jul 23, 2011 at 05:25 PM in reply to Really????
        Listen to them sometime... then you will know.
    • reply
      by Funny on Jul 21, 2011 at 08:21 AM in reply to
      Now that is funny...I don't care who you are! I still hear it everyday !
  • by Anonymous on Jul 20, 2011 at 07:01 PM
    The OPUS computer system used to track all inmate data is antique software that was originally installed in the 1980's after purchasing it from another state. Little if anything has been to upgrade it, yet technology has evolved from horse-and-buggy to supersonic transport since then. The state spends a fortune on maintaining this dinosaur each year. It is easy for the leadership to crucify this lone employee, while avoiding any culpability for their lack of planing and investment in modern IT equipment.
  • by DOC Employee on Jul 20, 2011 at 06:30 PM
    This man is been used as an scape goat. This inmate was released from prison before Mr. Smith even arrived at work. Republicans and Democrats this is what happens when you keep making budget cuts. This also is what happens when you have a person running the Department of Corrections that has never worked in a prison a day in his life but was appointed because of who he knows. The sad thing is, as a DOC employee, it will only get worst. For all you people talking about stop building, let me be the first to say I totally agree with you but they need to stop cutting position. I think this is only the beganning.
  • by Nuffsaid Location: Goldsboro, NC on Jul 20, 2011 at 06:05 PM
    Budget cuts.......the genius Legislative Budget writer in Raleigh, whom I bet has never stepped a foot inside of a prison, came up with the cuts, not by asking what we could do best without, but used position titles........really smart!!!! NOT!
  • by Steve Location: DOC employee on Jul 20, 2011 at 05:40 PM
    If the detainer had been placed on this inmate had been done when it was recieved this would never have happened. This inmate would have never been released into population. We have a system in place to prevent this release from happening. Why was it not used!!!!
    • reply
      by DOC wife on Jul 20, 2011 at 06:01 PM in reply to Steve
      Steve, thank you for your comment. In this particular case, the inmate was released prior to Mr. Smith's arrival at work on Thursday morning. The "upper managemant" wanted to make sure they got this inmate out so that the officer was back in time to take another trip.
  • by Gerry Location: Emerald City on Jul 20, 2011 at 03:47 PM
    Anonymous is right, thugs need to be kept in a secure place. Now, what do we the people do with the moron who let him out of jail? letting him resign his position and walk away from his negligent action, leading to a rape is not an option, there should be some consequences for his action.
    • reply
      by DOC wife on Jul 20, 2011 at 05:47 PM in reply to Gerry
      Anonymous, I agree whole heartedly, with 79 pages of criminal history... he should have NEVER been let out of jail. That is the "system" for you. Gerry, unless you know the whole story you should not make comments that are that descriminating against someone and something that you know NOTHING about. He is NOT a moron, and he did his job. If you would take the time to investigate the story before "blubbering" you may think different.
  • by Russ Location: Henderson on Jul 20, 2011 at 02:40 PM
    The Halifax DA's Office is responsible for this one.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 20, 2011 at 02:25 PM
    When an animal hurts or kills someone, that animal is hunted down and killed. The animal is not put away and given food and water and petted everyday and then unleashed back into a populated area because we know that such an animal is dangerous. Whats the difference???
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