The Nova Scotia Justice Department said policies and procedures were not followed when an inmate was mistakenly released from the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility earlier this month.

Eliahs Knudsen Kent, 22, was wrongfully released from the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility on Nov. 7 while being held on remand and awaiting trial.

Police were notified and a search was launched for the inmate. They warned the public not to approach him, saying he was dangerous and had a history of violence.

Kent spent more than 24 hours on the lam and was arrested after a short pursuit in Spryfield the following afternoon.

Investigators have determined another inmate who was due to be released from prison on Nov. 7 allowed Kent to pose as him, enabling Kent to leave the facility.

An internal investigation has found that staff did not follow the policies and procedures in place.

“There are no excuses. Staff failed to follow procedure,” said Justice Minister Lena Metlege Diab. “I’m disappointed. This is not a proud day for correctional facilities.”

Justice officials said inmates are photographed and fitted with a bracelet that includes the photo and other identifying information when they are admitted to the facility.

The bracelets are to be worn at all times and, when an offender is discharged, they are to be identified by the bracelet and by a photo and signature on file.

However, the government said the requirement to wear ID wasn’t enforced and Kent’s bracelet, photo and signature weren’t verified when he was discharged.

“Nova Scotians should be confident in our correctional system. I believe we let them down in this case and we promise to do our very best from here on,” said Bill Smith, executive director of Nova Scotia Correctional Services.

“It’s not our best work and we need to do better. We will do better.”

Officials said all front-line and supervisory staff will be disciplined, but wouldn't elaborate, saying it was a private human resources matter.

“Staff will be disciplined and I have been assured this will not happen again,” said Diab.

Joan Jessome, president of the union that represents correctional staff at Nova Scotia’s five correctional facilities, has her own questions about the matter.

She said the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union is concerned about work conditions and questions whether the facility might have been understaffed that day, or whether staff were briefed properly on policies.

“We just want to make sure that’s not what contributed to this,” said Jessome.

She said she doesn’t know what action the NSGEU will take since she hasn’t received the report and doesn’t know how the employees in question will be disciplined.

“We also have to meet with the members and find out exactly what they want to do once they find out what’s going to happen to them,” said Jessome.

In addition to charges of attempted murder, home invasion and robbery, Kent now faces a charge of escaping lawful custody.

Gregory Sheldon Spears, 30, the inmate accused of allowing Kent to impersonate him in order to leave the facility, is facing charges of permitting escape and breach of recognizance.

The incident was the latest in a string of mistaken releases at the jail. Since December 2007, there have been five people released from the custody in error.

In all cases, the inmates were returned, though some of them turned themselves in.

Officials blamed a number of factors for those inadvertent releases, including clerical errors and paperwork mix-ups.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Amanda Debison and The Canadian Press