A prison inmate in southeast Iowa was briefly listed as an escapee this morning after walking away from a crew working outside the prison’s fence. Andrea Wright, spokesperson for the Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility, believes the incident may be a first for the prison.
“This is extremely unusual,” Wright said. “In fact, in the entire 25-plus years I’ve worked at this facility, we’ve never had an offender walk away.” The inmate, Nathan Turnbull, was wearing his prison issued clothing and was spotted by a local resident about a half-mile away from the prison.
The individual called the Mount Pleasant Police Department and an officer captured Turnbull without incident. He was returned to the prison. The 28-year-old Turnbull is serving a 16-year sentence for 2nd-degree theft in Polk County. The sentence began in March of this year.
Wright said Turnbull was assigned to a garden work crew. Inmates assigned to the crew are allowed outside the perimeter fence. “There are some security practices with the offenders who work outside, but they are lower-risk offenders and they are not supervised 100% of the time,” Wright said.
“There would’ve been a person checking on (Turnbull) periodically.” Wright said Turnbull won’t be allowed back on the garden crew “anytime soon.” He’s now facing a felony escape charge.