News 12 story prompts prison investigation

By: Jonathan Martin Email
By: Jonathan Martin Email

June 1, 2007 News 12 at 6 o'clock

AUGUSTA, Ga -- As the warden in charge of Richmond County's Correctional Institute (RCCI), Robert Leverett only needed one look at our video to realize News 12 had exposed a state prison violation.

"I saw a violation and I will deal with it appropriately," Leverett said.

Last Thursday, our cameras were rolling on Augusta's Riverwalk, capturing state prisoners on work detail walking around unsupervised.

The video shows some inmates interacting with a couple walking by. That is a major security violation according to the Leverett.

When News 12 confronted Leslie Carr, the officer assigned to watch the inmates, she claimed the prisoners were being supervised.

While the warden would not comment on his officer hitting our microphone several times, he says he has removed all inmate work crews from the Riverwalk and reassigned Officer Carr until an investigation is complete.

Leverett says he is surprised by what he saw in our video. However, when our crew went back on the Riverwalk Monday, we found Chris Lunceford who is not. He is a recently released prisoner. He says poor supervision always gave him the opportunity to get drugs.

"Folks drop off cases of beer, cigarettes, marijuana, whatever type of drugs you want, they can make a phone call from the jailhouse, saying 'look we gonna be on road detail tomorrow, find out where the van is sitting at' and drop it off somewhere out there," he says.

Leverett says Lunceford's claim is news to him, but tells us he will investigate all of the claims. "I saw a violation. I will take care of it. I will take the appropriate action," he says.

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  • by Diane Location: Augusta on Jun 14, 2007 at 10:45 AM
    It's obvious the female officer does not know the difference of being "assaulted" between a camera and/or a microphone. Does she know the difference between guarding and/or baby-sitting prisoners?
  • by Jim Location: Augusta on Jun 11, 2007 at 07:25 PM
    I'm curious as to whether or not these are "violent/dangerous" inmates working these outside details. I ASSume they are not? While there may be some truth in what Mr Lunceford said, I wouldn't automatically believe his every word. I hope this doesn't impact the use of state inmates at the local city-owned cemetaries - they have done a great job at Westview in particular.
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