South Carolina

Inmate escaped from South Carolina prison work site, officials say

A South Carolina inmate escaped from a work site late Thursday night, according to Tweets from the S.C. Department of Corrections.

Cortney James Smith, 27, walked away from his job in Dilion at about 11:20 p.m., according to the Tweets.

Smith was assigned to Palmer Pre-Release Center in Florence. The facility houses the lowest level offenders who work, often offsite, as part of their rehabilitation.

After a little more than an hour, Smith was caught, according to a 12:45 a.m. Tweet from the department.

Smith was serving an eight year sentence for distributing crack, according to SCDC records. He has been in prison since early December 2017 and would have been eligible for parole this April.

South Carolina has a long history of prison breaks, which mostly ends with suspects taken back into custody. These criminals are still on the run decades later.

Emily Bohatch helps cover South Carolina’s government for The State. She also updates The State’s databases. Her accomplishments include winning a Green Eyeshade award in Disaster Reporting in 2018 for her teamwork reporting on Hurricane Irma. She has a degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish from Ohio University’s E. W. Scripps School of Journalism.