The state's Department of Corrections is suspending one of it's officers following an I-Team investigation.
We recently exposed a lack of supervision of an inmate work crew — all while the inmates were smoking a substance in a public park that had many parents concerned.
The Department of Corrections wasn't interested in investigating this situation until after our story aired, even though the I-Team offered to show them the video before hand and interview with them. They're now calling the officers actions "totally unacceptable".
The I-Team followed the inmate work crew multiple times. We never spotted them doing any work. In a public park they had no official business with, we spotted them smoking a substance that left many parents concerned.
"A park with all these kids that's just uncalled for," one parent said.
When we asked parents if they thought the inmates were being supervised one said, "absolutely not. I mean the video shows the corrections officer was on his phone."
The I-Team spotted Corrections Officer Jason Evans sitting inside the truck and looking at his cell phone while the inmates were smoking at the back of the work truck.
One inmate could be seen pulling a brown paper bag out of his pants, there was a smaller plastic bag inside. He carefully put the contents on paper, he rolls it, he licks it and does this a few more times. He then lights up. After taking several puffs, he passes it to another inmate. That prisoner takes 3 deep puffs, holds it in, then blows it out.
The truck Officer Evans was sitting in had the windows down and doors open. It wasn't the only time this happened.
One concerned parent told us, "it scares me because I come here all the time with my children and I'm here by myself because my husband is at work during the day so it's scary"
In an email, Department of Corrections officials told us Officer Evans was suspended and removed from his work squad assignment. The inmates have been put in disciplinary confinement and removed from the outside work squad.
We asked Department of Corrections officials how long the officer is suspended for and if it was paid or unpaid, but they did not respond.
Jarrod Holbrook is an Emmy and AP Award-winning Investigative Reporter for the ABC Action News I-Team. Do you have a story idea? Contact Jarrod on Facebook, Twitter, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.