Florida Inmates Forging Documents to Get Out of Jail Has Become "Cottage Industry," Officials Say
Last week, two inmates were able to escape the Florida prison system by having some papers forged that allowed them early release.
And while the two men were eventually caught, authorities have found themselves with a kind of conundrum: These aren't the only guys trying to get out of prison using the phony-documents method.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, there is a total of seven cases of inmates trying to bust out using fake documents. That's seven, so far.
Five of these seven cases came from the Franklin Correctional Institution, the same prison Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker walked out of before being caught in Panama City weeks later.
Jenkins and Walker had official paperwork forged good enough to fool officials at Franklin Correctional.
The phony paperwork from the Orange County Clerk of Courts had stated that the inmates' sentences had been reduced.
Authorities believe the men paid someone $8,000 for the forged documents. Police aren't sure if this person was in the prison system or someone on the outside but are investigating and anticipate arresting whoever is behind the phony paperwork.
Officials believe that forged documents as Get Out of Jail Free cards have become something of a cottage industry.
Jenkins and Walker are the highest-profile examples of the method working, though four of the seven found cases were nabbed before they could actually escape.
As a result of the Jenkins/Walker case, the Florida Department of Corrections has now instituted a new rule where court papers for inmates will now need to go through the judge that originally handled their case, and not through court staff.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.
- More Floridians Made Sick by Toxins Found in Tropical Fish Than Before, New Study Finds
- AAA Offering Free Towing Through Fourth of July Weekend
- After Jane Hart's Ouster, Two Curators Shun Art and Culture Center of Hollywood