Guards at Folsom Prison in California made an unusual discovery yesterday morning when thermal imaging equipment spotted a former inmate scaling the fence behind the facility on his way into the prison.
The California Department of Corrections, along with deputies from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department searched the grounds of the prison and the surrounding area after capturing the parolee on camera. Following a headcount of inmates that determined all were accounted for and an extensive eight hour search they found convicted felon Marvin Lane Ussery hiding in the tall grass behind the California State Prison, reports Associated Press.
Ussery, who uses various aliases including Ussery Lane, Lane Martin Ussery and Matt Scott was arrested by the Sacramento County deputies and charged with a felony, 'ex-convict coming on prisoner/camp grounds' and a parole violation.
Ussery had been incarcerated at New Folsom, the second oldest prison in California, following a conviction for a 2nd degree robbery charge, he was paroled in 2008. Bail was set at $1,000,000 for the felony charge of breaking into the prison but due to the parole violation he will be ineligible for release, according to information provided by the Sacramento County Jail.
Ussery, who claimed he was there reminiscing, is suspected of attempting to smuggle contraband into the prison. Prison officials say this isn't the first time this has happened. California passed legislation last year to make it a felony for anyone caught giving a cellphone to an inmate but it was vetoed by former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Sgt. Tony Quinn told Fox40, "What we're finding is that inmates are paroling from our minimum support facility and then they're coming back and smuggling in contraband. The most popular contraband by far are cellphones. A refurbished cellphone can be bought for 20 bucks on the street and then sold for hundreds, if not thousands behind bars. And frankly, who knows the prison grounds better than a former inmate? They actually know the layout, so they know where to go, where to hide the stuff and where they're buddies can pick it up."
Folsom Prison, known for its harsh conditions, opened in 1880 and was the subject of a hit song written and recorded by country singer Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison Blues.
Ussery is scheduled to appear in court Monday August 15.