Four Baton Rouge prison deputies have been arrested following an internal probe revealed the lawlessness that ran rampant in the prison. The internal investigation revealed a system of corruption within the department that inmates were able to exploit and escape from the prison. An internal audit of the work release program at the prison revealed discrepancies leading to the subsequent internal investigation and firing of the prison deputies. The repeated inmate escapes sparked the audit of the work release program.
“This type of behavior will not be tolerated,” Major Zack Simmers said. “You will be arrested, fired and charged to the fullest extent of the law”
According to the sheriff’s office James McClurg, Dimple Jones, and Taija Pearly were arrested last week. A fourth deputy, Michael Lafayette, turned himself in. All four deputies are facing charges of malfeasance in office. Jones and Pearly are also booked for prohibited sexual conduct with a prisoner.
There were two separate inmate escapes last month at the prison. WBRSO Chief of Operations Dale Simoneaux said the first escape was the result of simple human error. The second, according to Simoneaux, is what prompted them to take a closer look at the work release program. That closer look revealed the shift supervisor failed to notice an inmate who went missing during a nightly “lockdown”.
Pearly and Lafayette, two of the deputies working the same shift, left the facility to drive an inmate to a motel in Port Allen. There, Pearly allegedly had a sexual encounter with that inmate. The sheriff’s office says McClurg, the supervisor, took bribes and allowed the behavior to go on during his shift.
Jones, another deputy at the West Baton Rouge Detention Center is charged in a separate incident involving a murder-for-hire plot at the center last month. Few details were immediately made available about Jones’ alleged actions other than that they included sexual contact with an inmate.
All four prison deputies have since been terminated from their position with the department. The swift response from the sheriff’s office is meant as a clear message to the rest of the department that such actions and behaviors will not be tolerated.
“We literally took two deputies out of uniform and put them into prison stripes immediately, in front of the other deputies. And they were booked into the facility where they worked,” Simoneaux said.