Nearly 600 inmates are housed at the Muscogee County Prison and on any given day, about two-thirds of them are out working in the community.
When inmates come to the county prison they are assigned to a work detail based on their skills.
They will perform different jobs like sanitation, landscaping, and working as a mechanic for the city.
"They're details designed for institutional need and community support,” says Prison Warden Dwight Hamrick. He says meaningful work is a requirement for inmates and since the ones housed in the county prison are classified as low-level security and crimes, they are eligible to perform jobs outside the facility.
"The inmates that we have here are not hardened criminals with...heinous crimes such as murder, rape, armed robberies.” But the warden says they are felons convicted of excessive DUIs, burglary and property crimes, to name a few.
Hamrick says when inmates are out doing details a Georgia certified peace officer is on each assignment. "The minimum-security inmates are...checked hourly." Medium-security prisoners require constant correctional officer supervision under a weapon within a 15-foot distance.
New prisoners are supervised under a gun regardless of their security level for at least thirty days while officers learn their habits.
Despite the recent felon who walked off a detail earlier this week, Warden Hamrick says escapes like these are low.
Along with increasing officer visibility he's using the opportunity to educate inmates against any future ones.
"I posed the question to them is it worth it and 99.9 percent of them said no sir, you don't have to worry about me."
The warden says with all the policies in place residents should feel safe, but still remain cautious whenever an inmate is working in the community.
According to officials, prison details saved the city about 15 million dollars last year.
A News Three search found escape incidents dating back to at least 2007. In June of that year Jeremiah Webb walked off a work detail. In December of 2007, inmate Mike Weaver walked away from a work detail at Flat Rock Park. In June of 2008, Herman Freeman and Gregory Walker drove away from a work detail at Lake Oliver Marina. In November 2008, John Hubert took off in a city van from a work detail at the government center and in November 2010, Randall Sheppard walked off a work detail in Columbus. All of these inmates were returned to custody.