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Prisoner Mistakenly Released, Waits Patiently In Parking Lot

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Apr 25, 2013 10:25PM

An Illinois prisoner was mistakenly released from a Wisconsin prison, and instead of fleeing, he just waited in the parking lot until he was let back in.

Illinois prisoner Cameron Ratcliff is serving a 3-year sentence for drug possession, and he was bused to southern Wisconsin to enter a plea in a similar drug case. And that's when he was released.

The Sun-Times writes:

Problem is, Ratcliff isn’t supposed to go free until May 2014, Illinois Department of Corrections records show. That’s why [Ratcliff's attorney Henry] Sugden said Ratcliff’s girlfriend called him right away in a panic, worried Ratcliff would get in trouble.

Sugden says he told Ratcliff to “pound on the door and go back in there” and “don’t leave until they take you back in.” The jail administrator shrugged off the incident was "pretty uneventful" and that Ratcliff was free for less than an hour.

Sugden says the authorities are fortunate it wasn't someone incarcerated for a more serious crime. “Some of these guys would take off,” Sugden told the Sun-Times. “That’s the danger of this system not working properly.”

That's what happened in February when the Cook County Jail mistakenly released a convicted murderer in a paperwork oopsy-daisy. That man took off, but the authorities caught up with him the next day in Kankakee.