The prisoner who escaped from custody yesterday was wearing full-body restraints and escorted by two guards, according to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice.
Frederick Frank Frenchman escaped from his Saskatoon Correctional Centre escort yesterday afternoon while attending a funeral on Little Red River Cree Nation. Frenchman was serving a 1,048-day sentence for aggravated assault, forcible confinement, and breach of probation. According to Ministry of Justice spokesperson Drew Wilby, Frenchman managed to get away despite the fact he was wearing shackles and was under the direct supervision of multiple guards.
“Our standard protocol for escorts is two staff to every inmate. He was with another inmate so there would have been four staff to the two inmates,” Wilby said.
“He was in full restraints, which means a body belt connected to handcuffs as well as leg shackles. In terms of the details of how he got away from the staff that was there and was able to flee, I’m not sure of that at this time.”
Frenchman’s twin brother was also attending the funeral under corrections escort, Wilby said, but the fugitive's twin made no attempt to join his brother on the run. Early signs suggest Frenchman had help with the escape, Wilby said, and corrections are currently combing through his phone logs and other records to see if they can identify an accomplice.
Wilby said escapes from provincial custody are uncommon, but do happen on occasion.
“This has happened a couple of times in recent memory. It’s not something that happens often,” Wilby said. “Probably the most well-known in recent history was the Vermette escape from the Prince Albert hospital. Thank goodness he was brought back.”
After Braidy’s Vermette’s violent 2016 escape, which saw two guards attacked with bear spray and menaced with a firearm, Wilby said the ministry developed a policy to check with local police to ensure they are comfortable with the situation whenever an offender is allowed escorted leave. The Prince Albert RCMP were consulted before Frenchman was allowed to attend the funeral, he said, and raised no objections.
An internal investigation into the escape will be conducted, Wilby added, to ensure the ministry’s policies were adequate under the circumstances, and to ensure they were followed by all staff.
Frenchman, recently sentenced, was awaiting his transfer into federal custody at the time of his escape, Wilby said. Because he was serving time for violent offences, Wilby said Frenchman is considered a danger to the public.
“Mr. Frenchman is considered dangerous. We would encourage people not to approach him if they do happen to see him,” Wilby said. “If you do happen to run across Mr. Frenchman or know of his whereabouts, please contact the RCMP or your local police service.”
Frenchman was described as 5’11” tall, weighing 163 pounds. He was born in 1993 and has black hair, brown eyes and distinctive tattoos. A rosary is tattooed on his left wrist, and the initials “F.F.” appear on his left hand.
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