ESCAPEE JATONIA BRYANT CAPTURED
Marcia Oliver, Investigator with Jefferson County Sheriff's Office standing next to W.C. "Dub" Brassell Adult Detention Center escapee Jatonia Bryant, 23, following his arrest on Monday morning in Pine Bluff, AR (Jefferson County Sheriff's Office/Captain Yohance Brunson)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Major John Bean
Office: (870) 541-5351 / Cell (870) 329-5638
ADULT DETENTION CENTER ESCAPEE JATONIA BRYANT CAPTURED: On January 29, 2024, at approximately 11:07 A.M. Jatonia Bryant, an escapee from the Dub Brassell Adult Detention Center, was captured in Pine Bluff, AR.
Officers were conducting surveillance in the east side area of Pine Bluff, AR, when Captain Yohance Brunson, with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO), observed a black male, later identified as Jatonia Bryant, walking in the area of Belair Street and East Harding Avenue in Pine Bluff, AR. Captain Brunson identified Bryant by the clothing he was wearing and had been reported to law enforcement officers. Bryant continued to walk closer to Captain Brunson's vehicle and Captain Brunson was able to call in additional personnel to take Bryant into custody without incident. Bryant was transported to the Dub Brassell Adult Detention Center.
We appreciate the outstanding efforts of our own Captain Brunson, our Investigators, Deputies. as well as the Pine Bluff Police Department Vice and Narcotics, Arkansas State Police, and Arkansas Department of Correction K-9 tracking team. Since Bryant's escape they have worked numerous hours every day since Bryant's escape and used every resource at their disposal to locate and apprehend Bryant.
While both Noah Roush and Jatonia Bryant have been returned to the detention center our investigation does not end. Our Investigators will continue to work bringing criminal charges against all the people who assisted Roush and Bryant in evading apprehension.
During an internal investigation of the incident, it was discovered that jail personnel did not perform an accurate head count which led to the approximate 36-hour head start these individuals had. Our agency remains committed to the safety and security of our citizens as well as our detainees. Since 2019 we have worked aggressively with jail staff and contractors to correct structural vulnerabilities revealed since opening the jail in 2007. These actions included making updates to our facility in the way of cameras, perimeter intrusion systems, fences around and on top of the facility, which did not exist prior to 2019. The cost of such upgrades has been over $250,000.00. While these are always a deterrent to an escape, we rely heavily on our jail personnel for detainee security.
While escapes are infrequent, they do occur considering the will and means of any given detainee. That does not excuse the actions of our jailers. This failure on the part of our jailers, to not follow policies and procedures, is not in keeping with the high standards set by the JCSO. This investigation continues as well, and each person will be dealt with accordingly.
Jefferson County Sheriff Lafayette Woods, Jr., said in the matter, "Under my administration we have made investments in and around both of our detention centers, all essential steps in fortifying our facility against future breaches. The recent escape of detainees Noah Roush and Jatonia Bryant serves as a catalyst for further capital improvements, prompting us to redouble our efforts to address critical, longstanding challenges inherited from previous administrations related to the design and structure of the jail itself.
"Because of our dedication to the security of the people of Jefferson County, our staff and our detainees, we will continue to make such capital improvements to improve again our ability to prevent escapes and thwart the introduction of contraband into our jail.
"Jefferson County has also very recently made meaningful human resource investments that, given time, will help us retain valued detention employees and more selectively recruit new ones. Further, previous administrations enjoyed budgets that included 48 jail guard slots. We're now down to 20, so it is without doubt that even further investment in our detention workforce is warranted.
"We are committed to transparency and accountability throughout this process, recognizing that the trust of our community hinges on our ability to effectively safeguard our community and those under our care. As Sheriff, I assure you that every resource will be mobilized, every protocol reviewed, and every effort exerted to prevent such incidents from occurring again.