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SEARCH CONTINUES FOR 2 GOLDEN GROVE ESCAPEES

Jan. 10, 2002 – Police and prison guards on St. Croix spent the day Thursday searching for two prisoners who escaped Wednesday night from the Golden Grove jail, apparently by shimmying through a foot-wide shaft onto the roof and then leaping to freedom.
Chayanne Santiago and Jeffrey Dawkins, both St. Croix residents, had been awaiting trial on armed robbery and firearms charges, according to Attorney General Iver Stridiron.
Police Chief Novelle Francis Jr. said Thursday morning that "police dispatchers were called around 10 p.m. last night reporting the escape of the two prisoners." He said Dawkins had also been "charged previously with escaping from custody."
Authorities believe the two prisoners hid in a small utility closet, then crawled along a tunnel designed to give maintenance workers access to the facility's plumbing system. From there it's believed they shimmied through a 12-inch-square ventilation shaft onto the roof, then leaped to their freedom, Stridiron said.
Both men were being held in the recenty constructed part of the Golden Grove complex. They were among other pre-trial detainees who are kept in that jail section, apart from the larger population of convicted criminals in the prison section, Stridiron said.
Dawkins had first escaped from the Golden Grove facility in November. He was caught then after a search that took about a day. Some prisoners, Stridiron said, spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week trying "to beat the system, and Dawkins is one of those individuals."
The recent escapes and the stabbing death of inmate Miguel Le Bron at Golden Grove in September, along with the earlier escape of convicted murderer Bradley "Hurtie" Maxwell, raise questions about security and could lead to a shakeup at the prison, Stridiron said Thursday.
"I'm not satisfied that we're doing all we can to ensure security," he said, adding that he has told the Bureau of Corrections director, Horace Magras, to take whatever steps are necessary to bring the prison under control.
According to Stridiron, "Bureau of Corrections guards, special agents from Justice, Virgin Islands Police officers, marshals of the Territorial Court and agents of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force are all out looking for these two men."
He said he is confident that the two escapees will not be able to leave St. Croix, and that it is just a matter of time until they are caught. When that happens, he said, they will be charged with escape, and prosecutors will seek to classify them as habitual offenders, which could add 10 years onto any sentence they receive if convicted of the charges they already face.
And if convicted, Stridiron added, the two also face being sent to the Wallens Ridge supermaximum-security prison in Virginia, which the V.I. government has contracted to house some of the territory's most hardened criminals. "I have no reservations about letting them have a taste of Wallens Ridge, since they have a tendency to escape from custody," he said.
The government contract had provided for the territory to send up to 15 prisoners to Virginia, but this week V.I. Justice Department officials signed a new contract raising the number to 20. About five of the territory's inmates were mistakenly left in the federal prison system when the other V.I. prisoners were returned to the territory last year. Several of those federal inmates have been sent to Virginia.

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Jan. 10, 2002 - Police and prison guards on St. Croix spent the day Thursday searching for two prisoners who escaped Wednesday night from the Golden Grove jail, apparently by shimmying through a foot-wide shaft onto the roof and then leaping to freedom.
Chayanne Santiago and Jeffrey Dawkins, both St. Croix residents, had been awaiting trial on armed robbery and firearms charges, according to Attorney General Iver Stridiron.
Police Chief Novelle Francis Jr. said Thursday morning that "police dispatchers were called around 10 p.m. last night reporting the escape of the two prisoners." He said Dawkins had also been "charged previously with escaping from custody."
Authorities believe the two prisoners hid in a small utility closet, then crawled along a tunnel designed to give maintenance workers access to the facility's plumbing system. From there it's believed they shimmied through a 12-inch-square ventilation shaft onto the roof, then leaped to their freedom, Stridiron said.
Both men were being held in the recenty constructed part of the Golden Grove complex. They were among other pre-trial detainees who are kept in that jail section, apart from the larger population of convicted criminals in the prison section, Stridiron said.
Dawkins had first escaped from the Golden Grove facility in November. He was caught then after a search that took about a day. Some prisoners, Stridiron said, spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week trying "to beat the system, and Dawkins is one of those individuals."
The recent escapes and the stabbing death of inmate Miguel Le Bron at Golden Grove in September, along with the earlier escape of convicted murderer Bradley "Hurtie" Maxwell, raise questions about security and could lead to a shakeup at the prison, Stridiron said Thursday.
"I'm not satisfied that we're doing all we can to ensure security," he said, adding that he has told the Bureau of Corrections director, Horace Magras, to take whatever steps are necessary to bring the prison under control.
According to Stridiron, "Bureau of Corrections guards, special agents from Justice, Virgin Islands Police officers, marshals of the Territorial Court and agents of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force are all out looking for these two men."
He said he is confident that the two escapees will not be able to leave St. Croix, and that it is just a matter of time until they are caught. When that happens, he said, they will be charged with escape, and prosecutors will seek to classify them as habitual offenders, which could add 10 years onto any sentence they receive if convicted of the charges they already face.
And if convicted, Stridiron added, the two also face being sent to the Wallens Ridge supermaximum-security prison in Virginia, which the V.I. government has contracted to house some of the territory's most hardened criminals. "I have no reservations about letting them have a taste of Wallens Ridge, since they have a tendency to escape from custody," he said.
The government contract had provided for the territory to send up to 15 prisoners to Virginia, but this week V.I. Justice Department officials signed a new contract raising the number to 20. About five of the territory's inmates were mistakenly left in the federal prison system when the other V.I. prisoners were returned to the territory last year. Several of those federal inmates have been sent to Virginia.