Friday, January 15, 2010

Private Agency Guards Allowed Dangerous Inmate To Escape

Beside the horrors they are facing in Haiti, the other big news for the past couple of days was the brazen escape and eventual recapturing of Justin Welch, who is alleged to have been part of a murder in the Milwaukee area.

It is a very good thing that they caught this dangerous man. But from the story of his capture, this stood out to me (emphasis mine):

On Thursday, Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel said the North Atlantic Extradition Service van should never have stopped at the Van Buren rest area.

"When we contracted with them, we were provided with their policies, which prohibit stopping at public restroom facilities. The protocol is to stop at local jail facilities for restroom breaks," Schimel said.

North Atlantic Extradition, based in Columbus, Miss., is a private prisoner transport company. Its officials did not respond to requests for comment.

At the rest area near Fort Smith, Ark., guard Michael Nowland, 29, of Columbus, Miss., brought Welch and four other inmates into the restroom.

The other guard, Marian Pulliam, 35, of West Point, Miss., was sleeping when the van pulled off the interstate and was not aware that the van was making a stop, Grill said.


He also robbed a truck driver who was in the restroom of his jacket and cell phone, Grill said.

Grill said the guard did not check to make sure the restroom was empty before bringing the prisoners into it. The guard should have done that, he said.

Welch left the restroom and then awakened the sleeping Pulliam at gunpoint. Grill said Welch fired several shots at Pulliam as he fled in the van. Pulliam, who was not armed, was not injured.

Odds are that the contract with the private agency wasn't all that cheaper than having two deputies go down to retrieve Welch. But any money saved was lost with the cost of the massive manhunt, not to mention the costs to the victims that were harmed and/or robbed by Welch while he was on the lam.

Given the fetish that Scott Walker and David Clarke has for privatizing everything, this is a really scary thought of what could happen here.


  1. It's my understanding that the only other ways to transport Welch would have been: (1) have transported on a commercial air lines by federal marshalls. Or to have two deputies go down in a rental car, which would not have a security cage. (I don't know why they couldn't have used a squad car.) Each of those options would also involve safety concerns. Thus, a private transport agency was considered a better option than the alternatives.

  2. Also, don't forget how many prisoners who have escaped from real life police officers and deputies.
    It happens, whether it is for private companies or public employees.

  3. This story has been driving me nuts!! I don't know if you watched the video of the stop at the restroom before posting this but there was a woman walking within arms length of Welch and the other three prisoners as they were walking in.

    Four prisoners to one security insane and incompetent! A security guard sleeping in the van...OMG! You've got to be kidding me.

    Also...when the security guard was stabbed with the screwdriver in his hand...why didn't he fight back?? How did Welch get his gun?? The only way I could see it happening is if the the other three prisoners participated in the escape but I didn't hear anything in the news about that. If you get attacked by a prisoner and you are able to fight that is what you do. You don't just give up your gun! Being stabbed in the hand with a screwdriver is nothing in this situation.

    These incompetent security guards should have taken them to a secure jail and entered through the sallyport and had LE help escort them to the restroom.

    Thank God for the truck driver who helped capture Welch and had more sense than these lame lame lame security guards. I hope they are currently unemployed at this time!

  4. On the plus side, Waukesha County said it will not be paying North Atlantic Extradition Service's invoice.

  5. SI-

    The commercial air flight is actually one of the more common methods used. But I don't know why they didn't use one of their own vehicles.

    I just wonder who is going to pay for the manhunt and all related costs.


    But, but, but we have been told how much better privatization is - what happened?