The inquiry into Bradley "Hurtie" Maxwell’s escape from the Golden Grove Correctional Facility on St. Croix is half complete, according to V.I. Attorney General Iver Stridiron.
Soon after the escape at the end of September, Stridiron said Maxwell used a hacksaw blade to cut through the bars on his cell. Questions remain, though, about how Maxwell got his hands on a saw blade and then how he actually made it out of the cell block and prison grounds.
Maxwell turned himself in on Aug. 9 after 11 days on the run.
Stridiron ordered two investigations into the matter to ensure "checks and balances." One was conducted by the V.I. Justice Department’s Special Investigations Division and the other by the V.I. Bureau of Corrections. The Special Investigations Division report is complete while Corrections’ investigation is due next week, Stridiron said Thursday evening.
Until the second report is turned in Stridiron said he wouldn’t comment on the matter. He did say that he ordered two investigations "to see if the reports come out with the same conclusions. I suspect they will."
Stridiron has also said that because of short staffing at Golden Grove, there probably were too few corrections officers on duty at the time of the escape. The staffing problem is one that must be solved quickly because of the imminent return of 90 prisoners from the Federal Bureau Prisons.
As part of a consent decree with the federal government, the V.I. government expanded the Golden Grove facility and now must take back the inmates who have been housed off island, some for as long as 10 years.
But to accommodate the incoming prisoners, Corrections must hire 42 guards, Stridiron said. So far 26 prisoners have been returned while about 22 guards have been hired, 10 of whom on Monday. Stridiron said he wants to have a full contingent of guards in place before the remainder of the prisoners are returned by Oct. 31, if not sooner.
"We just had a class that went through and we just hired another 10 from a list of 180 names," Stridiron said. "I want them on board by the end of the month if it is possible."
Meanwhile, he said that any of the returning prisoners who cause trouble in the V.I. system will find themselves headed to Virginia, where the territory has contracted with a state prison to house local misfits at the equivalent $60-a-day it costs to house prisoners in the territory.
None of the prisoners returned so far have caused problems, Stridiron said. But if they, or the ones yet to return do upon their arrival, it’s adios.
"I think the facilities they were housed in on the mainland aren’t the kind they want to go back to," he said. "I made it very clear, if there is any unlawful conduct – riots, murders, what have you – I’m going to ship them out to Virginia."


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here