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7 Fla. inmates tried to gain release using forged documents

 

Seven prison inmates in Florida have attempted to gain their release using forged documents this year, with three succeeding, the state's Department of Law Enforcement has confirmed to WOFL in Orlando.  

Florida's corrections system has come under scrutiny after two inmates imprisoned for murder used fake early-release orders to walk free before officials could realize the mistake. 

Joseph Jenkins was released on September 27 and Charles Walker was released October 8. Both men were serving life sentences for murder at the Franklin Correctional Facility in the state's Panhandle. The two men began traveling together when their ruse was discovered last week and both men were recaptured at a motel in Panama City Saturday. 

In addition to Jenkins and Walker, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) confirmed one other case where an inmate was released under false pretenses. That case took place in Pinellas County, where St. Petersburg is located, and the inmate was recaptured after one day on the loose. Further details, such as the inmate's name and when the release took place, were not immediately available. A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday, at which the FDLE is expected to give more information. 

Florida Corrections Secretary Michael Crews scheduled a meeting with court clerks on Monday to find ways to prevent future escapes through bogus documents.

"It is embarrassing, but my concentration at this point is making sure that we come up with a process and a procedure that prohibits this from happening in the future," Crews told a news conference.

Crews has already ordered his department to begin verifying the legitimacy of early-release orders with a judge, not just court clerks. He said his department receives a few thousand such orders each year, although he acknowledged that reduced sentences in murder cases are rare.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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