BY KEITH LACEY
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services is conducting an investigation after a prisoner was inadvertently released after tricking jail guards at the Sudbury District Jail.
Chad MacDonald, 20, who is considered violent because of his past criminal history, was released Sunday after police say he used the name of an inmate with the same surname who was due for release.
The other inmate has since been released while police continue to attempt to track down MacDonald, say police.
MacDonald now faces a charge of being unlawfully at large and was in jail on charges of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a prohibited weapon and breaching several court orders.
Police say they consider MacDonald to be violent and warn members of the public to not approach him and call police immediately if they have information about his whereabouts.
Julia Noonan, spokesperson for the ministry, says a "thorough investigation" is now underway to determine what happened and to ensure a similar incident is not allowed to happen.
"Any time an incident similar to this happens, the ministry takes it very seriously and we will be conducting an investigation to try and determine exactly what happened and to see what steps need to be taken to remedy the situation and ensure this doesn't happen again," said Noonan.
The ministry releases more than 70,000 prisoners in Ontario every year and there are a handful of releases which aren't done properly, but "one improper release is one too many as far as the ministry is concerned," she said.
"Improper releases do happen, but they do not happen very often."
The ministry won't comment on the circumstances of this case, but the investigation will include interviewing the jail guards involved and taking appropriate action based on the findings, said Noonan.
"Sometimes human error is involved and sometimes it's systemic . . . with something like improper paperwork . . . our investigation will get to the bottom of what went wrong in this case," she said.
Greater Sudbury Police were contacted immediately as soon as it was discovered an inmate had been improperly released, said Noonan.
As of Tuesday afternoon, MacDonald remained at large. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact Greater Sudbury Police at 675-9171 or Crime Stoppers at 674-8474.