The Department of Corrections has launched an investigation after a detainee was mistakenly released from custody.
Rodney Joe Cruz was released from DOC custody on Monday but his release was an error. While he was tracked down and brought back into DOC custody on Tuesday, DOC Director Samantha Brennan told PNC: “It’s an ongoing investigation and we can not comment at this time.”
This raises the question how was the detainee released by error?
While that remains to be seen as DOC works to investigate the incident, this is not the first time this has happened.
In February 2018, then DOC Director Tony Lamorena confirmed that a detainee was accidentally released from the Department of Corrections, citing that it was quote, “an honest mistake.”
The detainee was Ben Espinosa who is confined to the prison for multiple cases. Because of the mistake, for a brief time, he was a free man.
According to PNC files, DOC received an order to release Espinosa and so he was released not realizing that Espinosa was being held in other cases. When DOC received the confinement list for Espinosa, six cases were listed which matched up with the release order, but a separate confinement order was also received listing two other cases. It wasn’t until a cross-check was conducted that DOC caught the mistake.
At this time it is unknown if Cruz was released under the same circumstances.
Cruz was committed to DOC custody in February after authorities tracked him down for failing to abide by the conditions of his pre-trial release related to a 2016 terrorizing case and a 2017 family violence and child abuse case.
However, his criminal history dates back to 2001 and includes terrorizing family violence disorderly conduct, assault and criminal mischief to name a few.
PNC asked Brennan if DOC would be reviewing its policies and procedures related to the release of detainees/inmates. However no response was received as of news time.