Four federal inmates who escaped from minimum security prison in Virginia are all back in custody after four days on the run

  • Four inmates who escaped last week are back in custody after days on the run
  • The inmates were Corey Branch, Travares Lajuane Graham, Lamonte Rashawn Willis, and Kareem Allen
  • The jail break happened at the Federal Correctional Complex Petersburg's satellite camp in Hopewell, Virginia 

All four men who escaped from a federal prison camp in Virginia over the weekend are now back in custody.

A manhunt took place involving the US Marshals Service, FBI and other law enforcement agencies to track the four inmates who are all serving time for either drug or firearm offences.

They were reported missing from the Federal Correctional Complex Petersburg’s satellite camp in Hopewell, Virginia, around 1:45am on Saturday during a security check.

Tavares Lajuane Graham returned to the prison early Sunday, roughly 24 hours after leaving.

Both Corey Branch and Kareem Allen Shaw surrendered shortly after midnight on Tuesday.

Lamonte Rashawn Willis was also back in prison by Wednesday, officers believed he may have returned to his home in Suffolk. 

All four are currently being held at the federal institution in Hopewell, Murphy said.

Corey Branch, 41, was sentenced to a 160-month sentence on charges of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and possession of a firearm as a felon
Tavares Lajuane Graham, 44, received an aggregate 120-month sentence for possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and 28 grams or more of cocaine base

Corey Branch (left), 41, was sentenced to a 160-month sentence on charges of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and possession of a firearm as a felon. Tavares Lajuane Graham (right), 44, received an aggregate 120-month sentence for possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and 28 grams or more of cocaine base

Willis, 30, was given a 216-month sentence for possession and concealment of a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
Kareem Allen Shaw, 46, was sentenced to 194 months for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a measurable quantity of heroin

Lamonte Rashawn Willis (left), 30, was given a 216-month sentence for possession and concealment of a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Kareem Allen Shaw (right), 46, was sentenced to 194 months for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a measurable quantity of heroin

The prisoners were reported missing from the Federal Correctional Complex Petersburg's satellite camp at about 1:45 a.m. Saturday, setting off a multi-agency manhunt, the BOP has said.

Because they were trustees, all four men were allowed access to life beyond the complex's walls with limited supervision.

According to the bureau's website, its minimum-security satellite camps have dormitory housing and limited or no perimeter fencing. They provide inmate labor to the main institution and to off-site work programs. 

An official with the U.S. Marshals Service office in Richmond, Virginia, said the four were apparently out socially Friday night and chose not to return in time for the head count. 

Each now faces the possibility of extending their stays there by a maximum of five years for escaping from federal prison.

Graham, 44, was serving a 120-month sentence for possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and 28 grams or more of cocaine base and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, the agency has said.

Branch, 41, was serving a 160-month sentence for possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and felon in possession of a firearm.

Willis, 30, was serving a 216-month sentence for possessing and concealing a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Shaw, 46, was serving a 194-month sentence for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a measurable quantity of heroin, the agency said in the news release.

The Virginia Federal Correctional Complex in Petersburg, Virginia (FCC Petersburg) is a minimum-security facility near Hopewell that holds 185 male offenders

The Virginia Federal Correctional Complex in Petersburg, Virginia (FCC Petersburg) is a minimum-security facility near Hopewell that holds 185 male offenders

The bureau has previously faced scrutiny over the last few years for inmate escapes, according to the Associated Press.

At some of the institutions, doors are left unlocked, security cameras are broken and officials sometimes don't notice an inmate is missing for hours.

At one Texas lockup, security is so lax that local law enforcement officials privately joke about its seemingly 'open-door policy.'

Last summer, the Associated Press report that within 18 months - between 2019 and 2021, 29 prisoners have escaped from federal lockups across the U.S.

All of the escapes happened at minimum-security federal prison camps, some of which don't even have fences, and house inmates the Bureau of Prisons considers to be the lowest security risk.

'Anybody can escape from any camp any minute of any day,' said Jack Donson, a prison consultant and former case manager at a federal prison in Otisville, New York. 'They're not secure facilities. They have no fence, no metal detectors.'

The numbers raise serious concerns that the agency long besieged by chronic mismanagement, misconduct and a severe staffing crisis is failing at performing its most basic function: keeping prisoners in prison.

Federal officials often refer to them as 'walk-aways,' though it is still an escape from federal prison under the law and law enforcement officials say there is still a risk to the community when an inmate absconds.

'These are very small, unsecure facilities,' said Cameron Lindsay, a retired Bureau of Prisons warden who now testifies as an expert witness on prison matters.

Because of their size and the generally low risk the inmates pose, federal prison camps often have the lowest levels of staffing in the Bureau of Prisons' system, sometimes with just one officer working to supervise inmates during a shift, he said.

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Four federal inmates who escaped from prison in Virginia are back in custody after four days

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