Another inmate alerted officers of escaped convict at Nevada prison

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 11:42 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The now acting director of the Nevada Department of Corrections held a virtual meeting with wardens across the state. FOX5 obtained audio from the meeting that sheds more light on the escape at a southern Nevada prison.

It was revealed that another inmate alerted officers that a prisoner had escaped from the Southern Desert Correctional Center about three and half days after it’s believed Porfirio Duarte-Herrera broke out.

Acting director Bill Gittere said officers were not conducting inmate checks in the unit Duarte-Herrera escaped from and said surveillance cameras showed that.

Gittere said eight personnel are on administrative leave and are being investigated by the department. The Governor’s office previously announced six officers were on administrative leave.

A corrections officer union president told FOX5 it is common for officers to work double shifts several days a week because they are extremely understaffed.

“Something’s going to happen when you have that much put on that few people responsible in an environment that’s as chaotic as prison,” president of the Fraternal Order of Police Nevada C.O Paul Lunkwitz said.

In the meeting, the acting director said he was meeting with the governor’s office and asked for permission to expand the critical rehire program to help with staffing levels.

Lunkwitz says retaining officers has been a major issue and pay needs to improve. According to the state’s website, salaries for corrections officers range from $46-$68,000.

Following Duarte-Herrera’s arrest last week he is now back behind bars at the maximum-security facility Ely State Prison.

A corrections official in the meeting said that Duarte-Herrera is on suicide watch.