Authorities find inmate who escaped Hendricks County Jail

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GREENWOOD, Ind. (Jan. 15, 2016)--  An inmate who escaped from the Hendricks County Jail was located and is now back in custody after being found at the Greenwood Mall Friday afternoon.

Wayne Mitchell, 32, is a repeat offender with 23 commitments to the Indiana Department of Corrections. He is serving an 8.5 year sentence and has been arrested for auto theft, escape and other violent charges. He was being held on an invasion of privacy warrant but he was convicted on criminal confinement charges from an incident in Shelby County that happened in April where he allegedly choked and beat his girlfriend and would not let her out of the car.

Mitchell is now facing three felony charges after he escaped last Thursday night around 9 p.m. when he left his inmate worker station in the garage. He managed to grab a set of car keys and fled in a county vehicle.

He was part of the working inmate program that is supposed to be for non violent offenders. The Hendricks County Sheriff's office says they did not receive the correct paperwork on Mitchell, or they would have never allowed him to be a part of the program that gave him the opportunity to go outside and escape.

"We have a pretty strict screening process I don’t think there is policy that is out of place, we just dropped the ball somewhere alone the line," says Hendricks County Sheriff Brett Clark.

Shelby County Prosecutor Brad Landwerlen expressed his frustrations after Mitchell was recaptured:

Mitchell was reportedly screened and determined to be a good candidate for an inmate worker program who which allows inmates outside the jail.

I have no clue what genius would consider a repeat-offender habitual felon, with 23 commitments to the IDOC, who is serving an 8.5 year sentence, and who has a proven history of violence, of auto theft, and of escape, to be a good candidate for such a program.  I am happy to see that he is back in custody – where he should have been all along.

The public deserves better than this.  This is a case where a little common sense would go a long way.

Landwerlen says his office was not notified of the escape, meaning they could not notify Mitchell's victim. Informing victims of an escape is required under Indiana law.

The Hendricks County Sheriff's Department has temporarily suspended the inmate worker program.