Labor Day weekend's search for escaped prisoner Jared Carter is expected to cost the state more than $100,000.
Illinois Department of Corrections Communications Director Tom Shaer said the search cost Corrections at least $100,000. The tally will rise as the various agencies submit bills to the state.
The City of Robinson has submitted its bill of $7,912.87 to the state, and Crawford County Sheriff Todd Liston said his department has submitted $4,417.05 for overtime and $420 in fuel costs.
While it has been reported that Carter decided it was a good day to walk away from the Robinson Correctional Center on Aug. 30, full details of the escape and capture are still not known.
"We don't release operational details, even when a walk-away occurs," Shaer said. "We can say that staff was with workers on the prison grounds, and the number of staff was the same as always. At this point, well into the investigation, there is no evidence that Carter's escape was aided by anyone either in or out of Robinson CC."
The union representing prison employees believes the states budget cuts to personnel did play a factor in the escape and number of days Carter evaded capture, specifically an unmanned guard tower and lack of K9s.
Anders Lindall, spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, said the reportedly unmanned tower has a direct line of sight to the area where Carter had been working.
Along with having no dogs belonging to IDOC to search for fugitives, Shaer confirmed that one of the guard towers wasn't manned when Carter walked off.
Lindall said the escape puts a spotlight on the staffing problems at the facility.
"Robinson is one of the most overcrowded prisons in the state," he said. "At the same time, critical security measures have been reduced due to lack of staff."
Budget-cutting last year eliminated the positions of the five men who handled the IDOC's K-9 unit. While the workers landed other jobs within the state's prison system, the dogs were let go.
Shaer said not having IDOC K9s was not a factor.
Robinson's police dog Enzo was on the scene with partner Dan Strauch within 26 minutes of being notified of Carter's escape. Crawford County's dog, Ori, and partner Rob Lowrance arrived soon after. Other dogs from near by police departments also aided in the search.
Shaer also disputes claims the unmanned tower was a contributing factor. He said Carter's departure spot couldn't be viewed from the tower anyway.
More than 100 employees of the Department of Corrections, as well as helicopters, airplanes, night-vision goggles and personnel from the Illinois State Police, U.S. Marshals Service, local police and sheriff's deputies were involved in the search and final capture by local law enforcement.