Wyatt Detention Center board members face questions over New Year’s Eve escape

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — The board of directors of the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation, which operates the Wyatt Detention Facility, met Monday night to discuss action they’re considering following a detainee’s escape on New Year’s Eve 2016.

Authorities said it took hours for corrections officers to notice that James Morales had fled the Central Falls prison. He was on the run for five days and was arrested up in Somerville, Mass., after trying to rob two different banks.

“Why wasn’t the public notified?” asked former Central Falls Mayor and current City Councilor Tom Lazieh. He believes Morales could have been a danger to the public.

While the city has a community alert system that residents can sign up for to receive emergency notifications, the board said they did not know such a system existed.

“We have not had any conversation with the city of Central Falls during this administration, or certainly since this board took over in April of 2014, regarding a partnership with an alert system,” explained Board Chair Luke Gallant.

Eyewitness News was told that four employees remain on paid leave as a response to Morales’s escape.

A “Corrective Action Plan” is now being developed as the investigation of the incident proceeds.

According to Gallant, a new report will be released to the public later this week.

“We’re comfortable that we understand everything that happened, we’re comfortable that we know the timeline of exactly when everything happened and I’m confident that we’ll be able to answer all of the public’s questions,” Gallant said.