Inmate Work Detail Program under Review after Escape

Inmate Work Detail Program under Review after Escape

The Shelby County Corrections Workline Program is geared to clean up neighborhoods and help inmates to be productive members of society. More than 300 inmates take part in the program, and escapes are rare.
Wednesday afternoon. The 26-year-old walked off a work detail at Lichterman Nature Center in east Memphis the day before.

The Shelby County Corrections Workline Program is geared to clean up neighborhoods and help inmates to be productive members of society. More than 300 inmates take part in the program, and escapes are rare.

Webster wanted a taste of freedom a little too soon. Local 24 News spoke exclusively to his family just hours before he was captured.

"I'm discouraged because he only had like a month and a half left and he'd be free," said Webster's stepfather, Chris Fortune. "Hopefully he'll turn himself instead of them having to get him."

That didn't happen. A team of deputies, narcotics officers, the U.S. Marshals and other law enforcement tracked Webster to the Parkway Commons apartment complex in south Memphis. It's nearly 10-miles from the nature center where he escaped.

Shelby County deputies said Webster kicked out a screen window from the third floor and tried to jump out, but he didn't. Deputies brought him back inside and he surrendered peacefully.

Fortune said of his stepson, "he's not a bad kid, he just made some wrong choices this time."

Now because of his little stunt, he may not be getting out anytime soon.

Shelby County Corrections Director James Coleman said the public was never in any danger. He said inmates taking part of the Workline program have never committed serious crimes like murder or rape.

Webster qualified because he was in for vandalism and theft charges, one of the reasons why there was no need to have an armed deputy supervising them while they work.

"We would never turn an individual out into the community to work that classification level would require them to have an armed person on them," Coleman said.

This is the program's first escapee of the year. Coleman's team is still reviewing how Webster escaped and said they'll make improvements to prevent this from happening again.

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