5 inmates escape Texarkana correction center after starting small trash fire

TEXARKANA, Ark. — Arkansas State Police are conducting a criminal investigation and the Division of Community Correction is conducting an internal investigation following a short-lived escape at the Southwest Arkansas Community Correction Center in Texarkana. 

Five center residents were involved.

The residents are believed to have started a small trash fire in the food services area about 5 p.m. on Sunday, which set off the fire alarm. 

During the alarm response, the inmates kicked out the plexiglass on the back door to the kitchen area and left the center. 

Officers say by 5:15 p.m., three inmates were back in custody. The remaining two residents were captured about ten minutes later. No residents had gotten further than two blocks from the facility.

The residents are identified as Michael Scott Batchelor, Harley Lee Tuell, Brandon Lee Joseph, Ryan Allen Cox, and Wesley Miller. They will be transferred to the Division of Correction for housing in a more secure facility.

All residents of community correction centers have been convicted of crimes that are non-violent and non-sexual. They are serving short sentences of six years or less.

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