Wardens retire over inmate escape scandal

January 12, 2010 10:28:58 AM PST
There's more fallout in the Texas prison system in the wake of an inmate escape on November 30. According to Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesperson Michelle Lyons, the warden and an assistant warden of the Estelle Unit have opted to retire, rather than face disciplinary action. Senior Warden Alfonso Castillo and Assistant Warden Thomas Hunt will both retire effective January 31.

Inmate Arcade Comeaux, Jr. escaped from custody during transporation on November 30, 2009. He had a gun in his possession, and then handcuffed the guards in the prison van and stole a weapon from them as well. Comeaux was recaptured after a weeklong manhunt.

Lyons says Castillo and Hunt failed to follow TDCJ policy and procedures. Those failures led to TDCJ correctional officers failing to detect the gun, failing to search Comeaux properly and failing to restrain Comeaux properly.

Two other guards are facing disciplinary action in the most recent rounds of hearings. Major of Correctional Officers Thomas L. Hutt was charged with violating agency policies and procedures during a hearing held yesterday. Hutt was recommended for dismissal, and has elected to initiate the mediation process. Mediation paperwork will be mailed to Hutt and he will have until Jan. 27 to respond.

In a hearing on December 31, Correctional Officer David Delaney was charged with trafficking and trading any contraband. Delaney admitted to delivering notes and contraband to offenders from other offenders. He was recommended for dismissal and has elected to initiate the mediation process. Mediation has been scheduled for Jan. 20.

Five other guards are out of a job following the escape. Three were fired and the two corrections officers who were transporting Comeaux at the time of his escape retired.