Corrections officers disciplined after inmate escapes from Richland County Jail

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Cornelius J. Phillips (Photo courtesy: Richland County Sheriff’s Office)

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MANSFIELD, Ohio– Two corrections officers and a sergeant at the Richland County Jail were disciplined after an inmate escaped.

Cornelius Phillips, 22, was originally arrested by Mansfield police on charges of possession of drugs, expired operator’s license, endangering children and falsification in August.

On Sept. 4, he was mistakenly released. He was taken into custody in Huntsville, Alabama two weeks later.

An investigation into Phillips’ release found it was planned. The Richland County Sheriff’s Office said Phillips observed certain staff members did not properly identify inmates to be released. He had a woman post bond for another inmate, Chekiah Washington.

“When the officer went to the pod to call for Washington to be released, Phillips posed as Washington,” the sheriff’s office said in a release on Thursday.

“The officer should have positively identified the inmate before he was escorted down to booking to be processed out. The booking officer should have done the same for the release of the inmate.”

The sheriff’s office said three were disciplined for gross neglect of duty resulting in the escape of an inmate.

  • Corrections Officer Christopher Plantz: Suspended 20 days without pay
  • Corrections Officer Stephen McDonnell: Suspended 10 days without pay
  • Sgt. Kenneth Moore: Suspended five days without pay

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