INMATE ESCAPE: How did Anthony Bell escape police custody?
Law enforcement is working to find out exactly how inmate Anthony Bell escaped police custody yesterday while being treated at Erlanger.
In a statement to Channel 3, Erlanger officials said: “When any inmate or prisoner is transported to Erlanger for treatment, our policy is that they are placed into a patient exam room and guarded by the respective law enforcement agency.”
In this case, the agency is the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office is overseen by the Tennessee Corrections Institution.
But the TCI doesn’t set policies for medical transfers and inmate hospitalization. A TCI spokesperson tells Channel 3 those policies are up to HCSO.
HCSO Chief Deputy Austin Garrett says the protocol is very specific.
"Our policies and procedures extend outside the facility and cover transports,” Garret said. “To give you an example, an inmate being transported to a health care facility or anything outside our correctional facility has to be handcuffed and have leg shackles on, leg restraints."
But Anthony Bell was not wearing leg shackles at the time of his escape. Garrett says the restraints can be removed if they get in the way of medical care. He says HCSO will be looking into that as part of an internal review.
"We are looking to determine if that was a request by medical and if not, then why he did not have those on,” Garrett said. “That's all part of our internal review that is being conducted. That’s all until that's completed and I have that for review myself.”
Garrett added that this is a very uncommon situation. He says HCSO deals with transporting inmates to and from hospitals on a daily basis. He also notes that Erlanger security is in no way responsible.
"Erlanger contracts their security to a private company. So, I can't speak to the training that they require. They may provide some, but they are not responsible for our prisoners. We are responsible for our prisoners,” he said.