On Tuesday, Sept. 26, a Davis County inmate, Joseph Armijo, 34, was inadvertently released, according to the Utah Department of Corrections. He was originally scheduled to be released that day, but the Utah Board of Pardons rescinded his release due to an alleged disciplinary violation. He was released into the care of his mother anyway.
“When the mistake was realized, Adult Probation and Parole agents went to the home where he was believed to be, took him back into custody and transported him to the Utah State Correctional Facility without incident and within hours of his release,” said UDC spokesperson Karen Tapahe in a press release.
After an investigation, the Department of Corrections has decided to make changes to how it releases inmates, now requiring written notification to jails if there is any change in the release status of an inmate.
After the accidental release, Asst. Deputy Executive Director Spencer Turley told ABC4 that miscommunication was likely at the heart of the mix-up. Turley said once the release was rescinded, the communication didn’t make it to all of the places that it needed to be.
Through their investigation, the Department of Corrections found that the Board of Pardons and Parole rescinded Armijo’s release after a “non-violent allegation.” Armijo was reportedly told his parole was taken back in person and his family was notified not to pick him up from the jail. UDC said Davis County, however, didn’t get the written memo.
“Prior to his release, Davis County did not compare their release list with the official list from the UDC,” said Tapahe in her statement. “The culmination of these actions resulted in Armijo’s mistake release from custody.”.
UDC aims to close down the gaps in communication by requiring written notification and ensuring communications make it down the line. Immediately following Armijo’s inadvertent release, UDC temporarily suspended all releases and opened their investigation.
Armijo remains in custody at the Utah State Correctional Facility, pending a hearing on the disciplinary allegations.