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Inmate who escaped from N.B. prison has long history of violent crimes

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An inmate who escaped from Dorchester Penitentiary in Dorchester, N.B., on Saturday evening has a history of violent crimes and escaping custody.

In a news release sent Sunday, Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) stated inmate Jermaine Browne was not accounted for at the minimum-security unit of the penitentiary around 8:35 p.m.

Browne was recaptured in the community without incident around 10 p.m., the New Brunswick RCMP confirmed to CTV News on Monday.

Previous criminal history

On Tuesday, CSC confirmed Browne is also known as Jermaine Carvery.

Carvery was sentenced by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in 2013 for attempted murder, robbery and forcible confinement for four robberies that totalled close to $500,000 in cash and goods.

Carvery was involved in robberies at a Costco in Halifax in 2004, a TRA Cash and Carry in Truro, Chrissy's Trading Post in Hammonds Plains and at Direct Cash in Dartmouth in 2006.

All of the robberies in Nova Scotia involved Carvery, who acted with one or more accomplices, holding employees hostage with weapons.

At the Costco robbery, the perpetrators bound and in some cases duct taped the eyes of roughly 40 employees over a period of two and a half hours.

At the time, the Crown prosecution compared the robbery scene to a Hollywood movie.

Carvery escaped custody in Halifax in April, 2008 and was arrested two months later at a hotel in Niagara Falls, Ont.

He had escaped after freeing himself from double-locked leg shackles and bolted from two corrections officers in Halifax as he arrived at hospital for day surgery.

Most recent escape attempt

CSC spokesperson Sophia Doiron said when the inmate was not accounted for on Saturday, the RCMP was contacted immediately.

Police say they were able to locate and arrest Carvery in the community without incident on Saturday night.

When an offender is recaptured, Doiron says a new risk assessment is carried out ensuring they continue to be placed in an institution with an appropriate security level.

"This inmate’s Warrant Expiry Date is July 25, 2050. However, this may be subject to change as the escape could result in new criminal charges," said Doiron in an email to CTV News.

Carvery's sentence began on Nov. 26, 2008 and he had been in CSC custody since that time.

Doiron said CSC assesses all inmates on a regular basis to ensure they are placed at the appropriate security level.

When considering the transfer of inmates to lower-security level facilities, CSC says it takes into account progress made in addressing needs identified in the inmate’s correctional plan.

That plan outlines what inmates must do to address the factors that led to their criminal behaviour.

"Only those offenders who are assessed as having a low risk to public safety can be placed in a minimum-security institution," said Doiron.

Dorchester Penitentiary in Dorchester, N.B., is pictured on April 16, 2024.

Minimum security

According to the CSC, the environment of a minimum-security institution is intended to develop an inmate’s capacity to operate with minimal monitoring. The agency says it plays an important role in the process of reintegrating offenders back into the community and helping them become law-abiding citizens.

“So this is a way to try to transition them from life in federal penitentiary to life on the outside. It's a slow process, but it's a gradual one. And many make the transition, but some do not,” said Saint Thomas University criminologist professor Michael Boudreau.

“We should not be surprised that, despite his criminal record, he would be after sixteen years in this position in a low-security area.”

Concerned residents

Some long-time Dorchester residents said they were concerned when they found out an inmate with such a long history of violent crimes was incarcerated at a minimum security facility.

“He was definitely in the wrong place, he was in the wrong institution. He should have been behind the wall and not outside in a condominium,” said Greg Partridge, Dorchester fire chief. “The minimum security, it's just condominiums, that's all they are.”

“I don't know why a man with that history would be here doing a 40-year sentence, he should be up in the Renous prison. This one here is for the more minor criminals and I just don't understand it,” said Dorchester resident Dave Methot.

Debbie Wiggins-Colwell, former Dorchester mayor and current Tantramar municipal councillor, lives across the road from where Carvery was apprehended.

“It is a bit of a concern to me. I put a lot of faith into our correction services there,” said Wiggins-Colwell.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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