Overcrowding At Minnehaha Co. Jail Leads To ‘Overflow Inmates’

'Overflow Inmate' Escapes Corrections Center, Back In Custody

An inmate who escaped from the Minnehaha County Corrections Center Sunday night is back in police custody.  Authorities say the 19-year-old was arrested after metro communications received a tip.

After a brief foot pursuit, Anthony Beck was arrested near 41st Street and Louise Avenue just after midnight. Beck was gone for a little more than 30 hours, but police say he had meth, a BB gun and an X-Acto knife on him.

Authorities say Beck escaped from the Corrections Center by jumping a fence during recreation time. He was originally being held in jail on a grand theft charge. Beck was considered a minimum security ‘overflow inmate’ and was transferred to the West Russell facility after the Minnehaha County Jail downtown became too full over the weekend. Warden Jeff Gromer says it’s something he has to deal with weekly.

Gromer said, “They’re prone to make some bad decisions. There’s a reason they haven’t been released into the community on bond.”

Gromer says the Minnehaha County Corrections Center is fortunate they don’t have more problems with inmates as was the case with Beck on Sunday night.

“The vast majority of the inmates we move to the corrections center obviously don’t choose to jump the fence and take off,” Gromer said.
Gromer says the corrections center was designed as a work release facility and doesn’t have the same security as the jail. He says inmates like Beck are transferred there because there’s simply not enough room downtown.
“That’s kind of why we’re having talks on expanding the jail and we’re going to continue to have those conversations,” said Gromer.

Until that happens, the sheriff’s office has to make tough decisions. They have to prioritize which inmates have to stay at the jail and who can head to West Russell. While Beck was originally charged with grand theft, Gromer says he didn’t pose as great of a safety risk to the public as others.

Gromer said, “Based on the charges and the behavior at the time while he (Beck) was currently in the jail, he clearly qualified for minimum security.”

However, after an escape attempt, Beck will now be residing at North Minnesota Avenue.

“He will not be going back to the corrections center,” said Gromer.

The Minnehaha County jail has 400 beds. Tuesday, it had 366 inmates. Before the weekend, Gromer says he has to get the number down to around 340 to make room for those who are arrested over the weekend. Many times that means transferring them to the other facility.