Police are looking for five inmates who broke out of the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre Sunday night.
The five men are considered dangerous and possibly armed. Police identified them as:
- Ryan John Agecoutay, 25.
- Preston Clarence Buffalocalf, 22.
- James Joseph Pewean, 25.
- Daniel Richard Wolfe, 32.
- Cody Dillon Keenatch, 19
A total of six prisoners broke out of the jail, at about 9:40 p.m. Sunday, but one was captured around midnight.
The jail was locked down Monday.
There were no injuries to staff or to inmates, said the RCMP, which is handling the investigation.
The inmates were in custody for offences ranging from property violations to serious, violent crimes, said RCMP Sgt. Doug Coleman.
"These people are considered dangerous and could possibly be armed so we are asking the public, please do not approach them," Coleman said.
Courthouse staff in Regina confirmed that three of the men are charged with murder and another is facing a charge of aggravated assault.
The prisoners escaped from an older part of the jail. A new section designed to be more secure recently had an official opening, although prisoners haven't been moved in yet.
Questions were raised Monday about why it took until Monday afternoon — more than 12 hours after the escape — for authorities to warn the public that the escapees were dangerous and possibly armed.
Darryl Hickie, Saskatchewan's Minister of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing, said prison officials followed protocol by locking down the facility and notifying the RCMP of the escape but said he's concerned about the length of time it took to inform the public, especially given the seriousness of the charges some of the inmates faced.
"We have some very difficult questions: Could we have done better?; Could we have done it sooner?" Hickie said. "Right now, I believe both agencies acted appropriately from what I've been told, but was it released soon enough? Not to my liking."
Hickie said he has asked his ministry to review the communications policy to ensure faster notification of the public.
Tammy Kirkland, executive director with the Ministry of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing, defended the move to issue the public alert Monday afternoon, suggesting the public was not in any danger because the ministry, the RCMP and Regina police knew whom they were looking for and were on the case.
"Things have been going on behind the scenes," she said. "We wanted to make sure we had our information correct … and that we then got it out as quickly as possible to the public."
It's not the first time prisoners have escaped from the correctional centre. In 2003, five inmates escaped from the facility by digging a hole in the roof of an auditorium. A few months later, corrections officials scrambled to explain how two inmates were able to claw their way through a brick shower room wall and escape.
Those escapes were made in a part of the centre built in 1913. Sunday's escape was from a section built in the 1960s.
Suffering from a sagging foundation and crumbling concrete and plagued by mould, airborne bacteria, cockroaches and mice, the building is in the process of being replaced with a new facility.
Kirkland said she couldn't comment on whether infrastructure had anything to do with Sunday's escape.
Police are asking anyone with information to give them a call.