Community's safety concerns addressed following inmate's escape

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - The Mississippi County Work Release Center addressed the community's concerns of the public's safety after an inmate escaped a work-release site.

Clinton Forrister, serving a 20-year sentence, walked away from his work site in Blytheville Saturday night.

According to Bill Sadler with Arkansas State Police, officers captured Forrister Sunday afternoon in a residential area in southeast Brookland.

Forrister's escape left many residents on edge, wondering why someone serving a 20-year sentence was allowed to be in a work release program.

"Although he was serving a 20-year sentence, he met the eligibility requirements," said Solomon Graves, an Arkansas Department of Corrections representative.

The Mississippi County Work Release Warden John Herrington said that before the trusted inmate escaped his work site, his transfer eligibility would have been Feb. 2019, leaving 28 months of his 20-year sentence left. Herrington said that fit in the eligibility requirements.

Herrington said work release inmates are hand selected throughout the state and Forrister never showed any signs of escaping.

According to Graves now that Forrister is back in custody, the ADC plans to review the factors that contributed to his escape.

"We are always looking at security measures," Graves said.

The thorough review will allow the ADC to increase security measures where needed.

As of now, 100 work-release eligible inmates in the county venture out to different sites daily.

Graves said those inmates are not merely dropped off at 9 a.m., left unattended, and then picked back up at 5 p.m.

He said the inmates do have surprise security visits.

Harrington said all of these inmates meet several eligibility requirements that seek to protect the community.

"I would tell everybody this is a safe program, don't worry," Herrington said. "Once in awhile you have a bad apple. That bad apple's been taken care of. I appreciate all the assistance from the community."

Now that Forrister escaped from a work site, he will never be eligible for the work release program again.

It is still unknown what further charges he will face.

Harrington said he has been with the Mississippi County Work Release Center since 2013 and Forrister is the first inmate to escape from a work site since he has been there.

To review the eligibility requirement for Arkansas work release inmates, go to their website here.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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