Prisoner escapes could have been prevented

Documents generated within prison walls

Florida Department of Corrections photos of Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker
Florida Department of Corrections photos of Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When murderers Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker were released from prison on forged documents in September and October, police were already actively investigating another failed escape attempt.

FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey told lawmakers that Jeffrey Forbes was caught in May trying to use forged paperwork.

"Documents were actually generated, constructed within the walls of the prison," said Bailey.

Lawmakers listened to police, corrections officials, court clerks and the judge whose signature was forged.

Chief Judge Belvin Perry explained how they got ahold of his signature.

"Was lifted off some orders that I entered in the case of the State of Florida Vs. Casey Anthony," Perry said.

The bottom line is that the officials knew there had been an attempt to use fraudulent documents before the escapes and did nothing to change their system.

Perry was grilled over why steps weren't taken by the court and clerk in Orange County when police began investigating Jeffery Forbes' attempt to use forged documents.

"We all would like to go back with hindsight and try to do things differently," Perry said.

There are also questions over how the two men who escaped were able to make their plans from inside prison using forbidden cell phones. Prison chief crews say it is a big, continuing problem.

"We know we got a few dirty officers," said Michael Crews. "I want you to keep in mind, that's a very, very, very small percent."

A smuggled cell phone could bring up to $600, 4,100 have been seized since January.