Kansas pulls inmates from county jail

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — All Kansas prison inmates have been moved back to a state facility after four escaped from a county jail, including a convicted murderer who remains at large, the Department of Corrections said Thursday.

The remaining 18 prison inmates who were being held in the Ottawa County Jail because of prison overcrowding have been returned to the state prison in Ellsworth, department spokesman Jeremy Barclay told the Associated Press exclusively.

Barclay said the temporary decision was made after four inmates escaped Wednesday morning from the jail in Minneapolis, a small town about 120 miles west of Topeka. The prison in Ellsworth is about 50 miles southwest of the jail.

Two of the four inmates who escaped were apprehended Wednesday, one after he turned himself in at a Walmart in Nebraska. The other two, 22-year-old inmates Santos Carrera-Morales and Eric James, remained missing Thursday. Carrera-Morales was convicted of first-degree murder in connection with two killings in 2007.

The department said as of Wednesday, it housed 88 male inmates in four county jails under contracts paying the counties an average of $40 a day per inmate. County lockups apply to the state but must pass an inspection that includes a review of training and facilities. The state has another nine inmates who are nearing their release from prison in a work program in Johnson County.

“We are reassessing our jail placement in Ottawa County right now, just during this period,” Barclay said. “This is an interim step while the investigation is taking place.”

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