Prison escape costs 11 guards their jobs

The Brillion News

MADISON - The state Department of Corrections fired seven prison employees as the result of the investigation into the escape of two inmates from the DOC's Columbia Correctional Institution in April.

Thomas E. Deering, and James R. Newman were captured in Rockford, Illinois, and taken into custody by the Rockford Police Department on the morning of April 17. Newman and Deering escaped CCI on the morning of April 16, 2020 by scaling the perimeter fences.


Deering had been incarcerated since 2001, and Newman since 2011. Both had escape histories, and were subsequently housed in the maximum security facility.

An investigation by the DOC's Office of Internal Affairs looked at the roles 13 prison employees played in the escape. Besides the seven who were fired, four other employees quit during the probe.


One staff member was suspended for five days, and one was cleared of any wrondoing.

Six of the eight disciplined can appeal their discipline to the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission.

"These are tough decisions that bring pleasure to no one in our agency," said DOC Secretary Kevin Carr. "But I cannot tolerate job performance that compromises public safety."

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