Video surveillance of the moments after a Screven Co. inmate escapes from the county jail show an absent sense of urgency by a jailer in tracking down the offender.
Frederick Lamont Jones spent three days as a fugitive back in February after he escaped from the custody of the Screven County Jail. Jones fled on February 13 in what the Screven County Sheriff’s Office says was a “moment of inattention on the part of the jail staff.” His escape was not pre-planned, but ultimately involved multiple agencies working to track him down. The search eventually ended with a search warrant, the arrest of Jones, plus the arrest of two individuals who assisted him.
Jones’ escape was a great public safety concern for the community. He was in jail on charges of Aggravated Assault and Armed Robbery. The violent attack on a Sylvania PoJo’s gas station clerk in 2019 left the female clerk, in her 60s, severely beaten. Jones reportedly used a baseball bat to attack her.
Though the community’s first priority was Jones’ return to custody, the questions began once he was back behind bars. What does ‘a moment of inattention’ look like for an institution charged with keeping inmates behind bars?
Video Shows Footage of Staff as Screven Co Inmate Escapes
Video surveillance of the escape was obtained by The Georgia Virtue through an Open Records Request. Footage shows Jones running through hallways, offices, and a conference room before bolting out a side door. The jailer on duty walks the same path to the front of the building approximately 20 seconds behind Jones.
There are multiple camera views.
- Two outdoor cameras have a timestamp of 21:50 (or 9:50 p.m.).
- The remaining indoor cameras show 20:50 (8:50 p.m.) as the time of the escape.
- A camera in one office shows employees of the Screven County Sheriff’s Office arriving at the jail.
- To include Chief Deputy Brett Dickerson and Sheriff Mike Kile.
Just after 11:00 p.m., police K9s from assisting agencies appear to be searching the property.
Story continues below.
Escape of Frederick Lamont Jones from Screven Co. Jail
Evaluating the Footage
The escape was preventable, Chief Deputy Brett Dickerson told The Georgia Virtue. He stated that a review of protocols determined “the escape would not have occurred had the established procedures been followed.” While no disciplinary action was taken against any employees, Dickerson said a ‘debriefing’ was conducted with supervisors for each division. The debriefing addressed the shortcomings of the jail staff and, in particular the shift working during the escape.
Jones will appear in court on the charges from 2019 on Wednesday.
Editor’s Note: The Georgia Virtue filed an Open Records Request for the videos immediately following the incident in mid-February. The request sought all recordings from the Screven County jail in a two hour window. Due to the antiquated nature of the surveillance system, the request was particularly burdensome for the records custodian and resulted in over 1,600 video clips across 16 camera channels. Each video clip was initiated by motion (as opposed to a continuous stream recorded on video). Though filed at the time of the escape, the request was delayed by both fulfillment time for SCSO and analysis by TGV.