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Press Release

Inmate indicted for escaping from Atlanta’s Federal Penitentiary on three separate occasions

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia

ATLANTA – Federal inmate Jaye L. Thomas has been indicted for escaping from the prison camp at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, on three separate occasions in 2016.


“Thomas allegedly escaped from Atlanta’s federal prison multiple times in 2016,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn. “When inmates escape from custody, they threaten the safety of our communities nearby the prison and undermine our system of criminal justice.”


“The federal indictment of federal inmate Thomas once again clearly reflects that those inmates walking away or otherwise leaving the grounds of United States Penitentiary Atlanta property will be dealt with as escapees. The potential harm to the public as well as the breakdown of order that these individuals can cause these corrections facilities when they re-enter with contraband items that have included alcohol and cell/smart phones is significant and should not and will not be tolerated,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.


According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges, and other information presented in court: the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta (“USP Atlanta”) is a medium-security prison for male inmates operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. USP Atlanta also operates a satellite prison camp for minimum-security male inmates. In January 2015, Thomas was convicted of possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute it. From approximately January to December 2016, he was assigned to the USP Atlanta prison camp, with a scheduled release date of December 28, 2022.


The indictment alleges that Thomas escaped from USP Atlanta on three separate occasions in 2016 (March 22, April 4, and September 25, 2016). The investigation against Thomas originated when law enforcement officers reviewed photographs from a surveillance camera that allegedly showed Thomas in a wooded area outside of prison property. Subsequently, law enforcement officers obtained documentary evidence and eyewitness testimony to support the escape charges against Thomas.


Jaye L. Thomas, 36, of Dalton, Georgia, was indicted on August 1, 2017, on three counts of escaping from federal custody.


Members of the public are reminded that the indictments only contain charges. The defendants are presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.


This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Atlanta Police Department.


Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey W. Davis and Timothy H. Lee are prosecuting the case.


For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Updated September 8, 2017

Public Corruption