FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) — Nearly four months after an escape from the Lauderdale County Jail led to a nationwide manhunt, new policies have been put in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Casey White’s escape happened in late April with the assistance of Assistant Director of Corrections Vicky White. That escape led to a 11-day manhunt for the pair that ended in Evansville, Ind. with Casey White back in custody and Vicky White’s death due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
News 19 sat down with Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton to discuss the changes to the jail’s transportation system so that an escape like this never happens again.
“Our big mistake was we put too much control and authority in a single person,” Singleton said.
Singleton says when Vicky White helped Casey White escape from the jail, policies were strong, but their execution was not. The sheriff’s office has now implemented a new system for any inmate leaving the jail.
Under the previous policy, Vicky should not have been able to take Casey from the jail on her own.
The sheriff says part of the reason she could do this was her title. As Assistant Director of Corrections, Vicky was the only person in the jail with access to the list of inmates who were being transported to and from the jail.
Under the new policy, the list of inmates who need to be taken from the jail will go to multiple team members, rather than just one jail employee.
Singleton says this will make sure there are multiple sets of eyes on every transport the jail makes.
“When the transport team arrives at the detention center, they check their list against what the detention center’s got,” Singleton explained. “If an inmate’s name is not on that list, they do not leave this facility.”
Singleton also said they were lax in how they handled judge’s orders to retrieve single inmates. In the case of Casey White, Vicky was able to use that to her advantage.
“We would get inmates to the courthouse and get them in court, and the judge would, on the spur of the moment, decide they want to see another inmate,” Singleton said. “Before we would simply make a phone call to the jail [saying], ‘hey, we need this inmate.’ Now that has to be done in writing.”
Singleton says they implemented the new policies just after the manhunt for Casey White ended.
Although he admits that another escape attempt could happen, these checks and balances should make it much more difficult.