DOC investigating how inmate escaped prison

Matthew Joseph Medlin, 30, escaped from to the Columbia River Correctional Institute Wednesday. (DOC)
Matthew Joseph Medlin, 30, escaped from to the Columbia River Correctional Institute Wednesday. (DOC)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The Department of Corrections (DOC) answered questions on Thursday regarding an inmate’s escape on Wednesday.

Police captured 30-year-old Matthew Medlin Wednesday night at a Jack in the Box restaurant, located at NE Martin Luther King Jr. and Columbia boulevards, nine hours after he climbed a fence at the Columbia River Correctional Institution and escaped.

DOC officials said Medlin was a kitchen worker at the minimum security prison located in an urban area. Authorities said he was taking out the recycling Wednesday when he made his escape.

DOC officials said they are now conducting an internal review to determine how exactly Medlin was able to get away.

According to initial reports, DOC officials said four staff members were nearby when Medlin jumped the fence. The staff members verbally demanded Medlin stop, but he just continued scaling the fence, DOC said.

Security guards at the prison are only armed with pepper spray, DOC said, and there are no watch towers because it is a minimum security facility.

As part of the internal investigation, which will take about a month to complete, DOC officials said they will be looking for security gaps and will develop a plan for what needs to be improved.

“We understand that it is significant, and our number one priority is keeping the public safe. So, we’ll do everything we can to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” said Elizabeth Craig with the DOC.

At this point, Craig said no staff members are facing any sort of discipline.

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