VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - It's been three weeks since a Vigo County inmate was mistakenly released from jail. The County's Sheriff's Office has explained the results of an extensive internal review. Authorities are still actively looking for Shepherd.
48-year-old Gregg Shepherd was released from the Vigo County Jail on September 5th. For eight days, The Sheriff's Office didn't know he was gone. Since then, they have been working diligently to identify what went wrong.
Sheriff John Plasse has stressed from the beginning that the responsibility falls on them and they are taking steps to avoid this from happening again. They conducted an extensive internal review and here's what exactly happened.
Gregg Shepherd was in court on September 5th. The jail officer escorted him back, following his court session, to fill out paperwork. In that paperwork, there's a section that details whether an inmate is to be released, sentenced, or when their next court date is. Plasse says that section was not filled out correctly by his staff.
Plasse said they have dealt with the employee that made this mistake. This was simply a human error and in no way was malicious or on purpose.
"One of the things that we just wanted to stress to our staff was don't rush," Plasse said, "Don't rush that process and just make sure we are doing the right thing. Hopefully, we've taken the actions necessary to prevent this from ever happening again.
The Sheriff's Office conducted a comprehensive report of their process in dealing with inmates. As a result, they have already made improvements to their system to prevent this from happening again.
Inmate's information will now go through a second and third layer of approval in the office's system. First, they will compare the paperwork filled out after the inmate's court date with their online records to make sure it is the same. Then, a third person will review the release forms to make sure everything is in order. Plasse says this will eliminate any confusion.
Overall, Sheriff Plasse says he is happy with the steps they have made. He's confident this mistake won't happen again. "I think what we've got in place now will prevent this from ever occurring again," he said, "I'm confident that the steps we have taken will result in no one else being released in this way."
If you know anything about Gregg Shepherd's whereabouts, please call crime stoppers at 812-238-STOP.
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