Last defendant in a series of inmate escape cases sentenced to additional prison time
ATLANTA – Jaye L. Thomas, an inmate at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta (USP Atlanta), has been sentenced to additional prison time for escaping on three separate occasions. Thomas is the last defendant to be sentenced in an operation aimed at combating the rash of inmate escapes from the prison camp in 2016 and 2017.
“Prisoners who escape from custody pose a threat to the community and subvert the authority of the criminal justice system,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “These prosecutions make it clear that serious consequences exist for inmates who escape from custody, especially for those who are caught smuggling illegal contraband.”
“This sentencing hopefully marks the end of an investigation that exposed a serious breach of security and safety, both inside and outside of a federal prison,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The safety of our communities was breached when these inmates escaped, and the security of the prison was breached when they returned with contraband that allowed them to continue criminal conduct inside the prisons walls. This type of carefree behavior will not go unpunished.”
“This operation highlights the team effort that exists among our agencies,” said Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields. “Together, we made sure these prisoners continue to pay their debt to society for previous crimes and face the serious consequences for escaping custody and putting the community at risk.”
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court: USP Atlanta is a medium-security federal prison for male inmates operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. USP Atlanta also operates a satellite prison camp for minimum-security male inmates.
Since 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Atlanta Police Department have jointly investigated instances of USP Atlanta inmates temporarily escaping from the prison camp to obtain contraband to smuggle back into the prison or to visit nearby restaurants, hotels, and residences.
In January 2015, Thomas was sentenced to 11 years, three months in prison after being convicted of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. In 2016, Thomas was assigned to the USP Atlanta’s prison camp.
Law enforcement officers began investigating Thomas when surveillance images showed him escaping from USP Atlanta on March 22, 2016 and April 4, 2016. Eyewitness testimony, cellular telephone records, and other evidence confirmed that Thomas had escaped from USP Atlanta’s prison camp on three occasions to have sex with two different girlfriends.
Jaye L. Thomas, 37, of Dalton, Georgia, was sentenced to an additional one year, nine months in prison, to be served following his current 11 year, three month prison term.
In addition to Thomas, the following individuals were convicted and sentenced for their involvement in inmate escapes from the USP Atlanta prison camp:
●On June 6, 2017, federal inmate Justin B. Stinson, 37, of Panama City, Florida, was sentenced to an additional one year, three months in prison (to be served after his current four year, three month prison term). Stinson pleaded guilty to escaping from federal custody after he was caught outside of USP Atlanta with a duffel bag containing a cellular telephone, scissors, tequila, and cigarettes.
●On September 20, 2017, federal inmate Fernando A. Settles, 37, of Augusta, Georgia, was sentenced to an additional one year, three months in prison (to be served after his current 20-year prison term). Settles pleaded guilty to escaping from prison so that he could celebrate his birthday.
●On February 22, 2018, federal inmate Deldrick D. Jackson, 42, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to an additional one year, six months in prison (to be served after his current 10 year, eight month prison term). Jackson’s fiancée, Kelly M. Bass, 39, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, was sentenced on September 13, 2017, to six months in prison to be followed by eight months of home confinement. Jackson and Bass were sentenced for running an inmate taxi service. In total, they provided escaped inmates with transportation from USP Atlanta and/or smuggled contraband into the prison on approximately 15 occasions. On the day of their arrests, Jackson and Bass were caught with two cell phones, 83 packs of cigarettes, and eight bottles of whiskey.
●On June 1, 2018, federal inmate Latigree D. James, 36, of Miami, Florida, was sentenced to an additional six months in prison (to be served after his current five-year prison term). James escaped from the prison camp to meet with Claudia Moline, who drove him from USP Atlanta and provided him with cellular phones and approximately $200’s worth of cigarettes. For her role, Moline, 36, of Hiram, Georgia, was sentenced on April 20, 2018, to three years of probation.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Atlanta Police Department investigated these cases.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey W. Davis, Chief of the Public Integrity and Special Matters Section; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy H. Lee prosecuted the cases.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.