Crawford promises changes to prevent future escapes | NevadaAppeal.com

Crawford promises changes to prevent future escapes

The inmate who escaped Thursday by hiding in a Prison Industries delivery truck is the first to escape in the 18 years Howard Skolnik has served as director of the program.

Skolnik said there is no excuse for last week’s escape from Northern Nevada Correctional Center.

“He should not have been able to do this,” he said. “There are at least three individuals who should have seen him.”

Public Information Officer Fritz Schlottman said two of those individuals are on administrative leave while the case is investigated.

Ed Flagg, president of the correctional officers association, agreed there is no excuse for the errors which allowed Thompson to escape.

“We’re not excusing it for a minute. It shouldn’t have happened, so let’s find out why it happened and fix it,” he said.

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Nevada Director of Corrections Jackie Crawford and her senior staff Monday said they will figure out exactly what allowed an inmate to escape last week and how to prevent it from happening again.

Jody Thompson, 24, escaped by hiding in an industries delivery truck as it left NNCC. He used a hammer in the back of the truck to break out when the vehicle stopped in Fallon. Thompson, who was serving multiple counts for armed robbery, was still at large Monday.

“Someone is supposed to actually get in the box and in the cab to check,” said Deputy Director Greg Cox. “That didn’t happen, and we don’t know why.”

There are several “walkaways” from conservation camps each year, but the last escape from a Nevada prison was more than two years ago when an inmate got out of High Desert State Prison – also by hiding in a truck.

Crawford said charges are pending against a prison dental technician, Ana Kastner, 42, in connection with the escape. She allegedly provided Thompson a cell phone he used to coordinate his escape with parolee Tanner Kendrick, 27, and former inmate Michael Woolf, 43. They are also being investigated in connection with the escape. All three are in custody.

Cox said the cell phone allegation against Kastner is serious.

“One of our most serious threats to the security of an institution is cell phones,” he said.

Crawford said the U.S. Marshal’s Office is helping her staff with the investigation and the hunt for Thompson, along with numerous local agencies.

In addition, Kastner’s roommate Carolyn Thomas is on administrative leave for allegedly bringing contraband into the prison and is being investigated to see whether she had a part in the escape.

Crawford said Kastner and Thomas are being fired from their jobs.

Inspector General Pat Conmay said Kastner “had some emotional attachment that caused her to do this.”

He said an all-out effort is under way to find Thompson, who has family and friends in the Pahrump and Las Vegas areas.

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.