Man with backpack at prison charged

Published 11:08 pm Monday, August 10, 2009

By By Adam Prestridge
special to the standard

A Mobile man who allegedly tossed a backpack full of drugs, cell phones and other contraband over a fence at Fountain Correctional Institute early last Sunday morning has been charged with criminal trespassing.
According to a spokesperson with the Escambia County Circuit Clerk’s Office in Brewton, 20-year-old Reginald Watkins, of 1815 Lacy St., was charged Thursday with third degree criminal trespassing by the Alabama Department of Corrections.
According to the spokesperson, the charge stated that Watkins “knowingly” and  “unlawfully” entered the premises of Fountain Correctional facility’s south outer yard near the clubhouse.
Brian Corbett, public information officer for ADOC, also confirmed the charge Friday afternoon. Initially, Watkins was charged with
Corbett said a tower officer spotted Watkins walking near the fence at about 3 a.m. on Aug. 2. The officer ordered the suspect to stop and fired a warning shot into the air because he did not know if the suspect was an inmate or not. Corbett said a pursuit then ensued and the officer fired another warning shot into the air. The suspect was apprehended shortly thereafter and was not injured.
Corbett said incidents such as the one last weekend are not common, but have happened in the past. Fountain Correctional Institutes location may also play a factor in such attempts.
Corbett said the backpack Watkins allegedly dropped contained 13 individually wrapped bags of marijuana, a pill bottle containing 43 assorted pills, 13 cigars, 21 cell phones, 21 cell phone chargers and a cell phone battery.
Watkins was transported to the Escambia County Detention Center in Brewton where he was charged with promoting prison contraband. He was released the following day after those charges were dismissed.
Drugs have always been a concern in state prisons. Corbett said those concerns still remain, but technology such as cell phones have made curbing contraband attempts challenging.
As for the security of not only Fountain prison, but all state prisons, Corbett said he believes correctional officers are doing exceptional job with limited resources.
Escambia County District Attorney Steve Billy was unavailable for comment at press time.

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