When one thinks of prison escapes, what most likely comes to mind is an event like the Alcatraz prison escape of 1962, which involved an elaborate scheme that most would have thought to be impossible to pull off. However, the subject of today’s story bypassed the planning stage and simply walked out.
How Did a Convict Manage to Walk Out of Prison?
Man escapes Washington prison by impersonating cellmate https://t.co/5iH0hojox9— Newsweek (@Newsweek) April 19, 2023
Last week, convict Brian Francisco Roman, 26, strolled out of a Cowlitz County Jail by fooling guards into thinking he was a cellmate due to be released that day.
While this cellmate was asleep, a corrections officer entered his and Brian’s cell, calling for the sleeping soon-to-be-released convict. Brian seized this opportunity, answering instead.
He forged his cellmate’s signature when signing discharge paperwork, and before the mistake was revealed, Brian was long gone. He was even given his cellmate’s property, including keys and a wallet with an ID and debit card inside.
Did Brian Get Away With His Escape?
My favorite part is that they didn’t realize until the correct inmate contacted them. Imagine that ‘oh shit’ moment. 😆 pic.twitter.com/Nu6P6OhNXy— Rose (@901Lulu) April 19, 2023
Unfortunately, while he may have had the audacity to seize a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Brian did not have the cunning to disappear from the authorities’ radar.
When Brian’s cellmate woke up, he inquired when he was due to be released. It was then that jail staff realized their mistake.
Cowlitz County Jail’s only defense came in the form of the following statement: “Jail staff stated that Roman and the other inmate have similar physical features.”
Brian’s absence from Cowlitz County Jail lasted only one day, as he was apprehended on April 18. He is now being charged with second-degree escape, first-degree criminal impersonation, forgery, and second-degree theft.
Perhaps he should have planned this better.
Is Prison Escape a Common Occurrence?
With the expansion of security technology, prison escape is not nearly as common an occurrence today as it was in the 20th century. Still, it happens more often than one would think.
According to Statista, “In 2019, 2,231 inmates escaped from state or federal prisons in the United States. This is a decrease from the previous year, when 2,351 prisoners escaped from facilities across the United States.”
While there are obviously bizarre anomalies (like the case of Brian Roman), the majority of prison escapes occur at work release centers. Inmates will leave for work then simply never return.
Of course, if one intends to escape prison, they should know that the odds are stacked against them. According to Urban Institute, around 90% of escapees are eventually recaptured.