Work-release inmate escapes, fourth reported by WBR Sheriff's Office in two-month span

Andrew Green agreen@postsouth.com
Michael Allen is the fourth inmate to escape the WBR Sheriff's Office work-release program in a span of two months. He was found in White Castle.

Officials with the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office had to find and capture a work-release inmate who walked off from a site last Monday.

Michael Allen, 31 of Port Allen, was found at his girlfriend’s house in White Castle around 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to an Advocate report.

Allen had been missing since 6:30 p.m. on Monday, after he walked away from a job site at Fluker Farms in Port Allen, WBR representatives said.

Allen was serving time for drug-related charges, and, according to the Advocate report, his escape is the fourth reported by the WBR Sheriff’s Office in a two-month span.

According to the report, Allen’s employer notified the Sheriff’s Office that he did not show up to work.  Allen has since been kicked out of the work-release program and will likely get six additional months added to his prison sentence, according to WBR Sheriff’s Office.

Earlier in March, inmate David Graham walked off his job site in Baton Rouge, and was the third work-release inmate to escape within a three-week period.  He was found and arrested by the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force in Oklahoma.  His ex-wife helped him escape when she picked him up from the job site and drove him back to the Oklahoma.

The first of four escape began on Valentine’s Day in February when 25-year-old Mertis Wade walked off his job site.  Four days later, he was captured at the Krewe of Caesar parade in Metairie and told officials he escaped because he wanted to see his girlfriend.

Just about a week later, another inmate escaped.  34-year-old Rickey Lake was caught after he escaped through a window at the parish’s work release facility.  According to WBR Sheriff’s Office, Lake was attempting to visit his girlfriend.

It took Sheriff’s Office road patrol only about an hour to track down Lake’s whereabouts, but then he jumped into his girlfriend’s vehicle and led officials on a short chase before he got out near Erwinville.

Another eight hours later, with the help from parish search dogs, authorities found Lake.

According to the Advocate report, an April 2016 audit by the Louisiana State Legislative Auditor urged for a need for better oversight in the Department of Public Safety and Corrections’ work programs.  The audit reported 254 inmate escapes from 2013-15, 22 of those occurred in West Baton Rouge Parish.