Nova Scotia

Escaped prisoner kicked out van window

Nova Scotia's justice minister says improvements to prisoner transfer vans will prevent future inmates escaping.

Justice Department promises to install bars

A prisoner escaped from a van like this Wednesday. (CBC)

Nova Scotia’s justice minister says improvements to prisoner transfer vans will prevent future inmates from escaping.

"We are in the process of looking to put bars on that window. So if someone is alarmed or says, 'What are you doing to correct that,' it was already in the process," Ross Landry said Thursday.

"It's unfortunate this incident happened here and I take that incident extremely seriously."

He was referring to a prisoner escaping the custody of sheriffs on Wednesday. Thomas Jones was inside a sheriffs’ van when he kicked out the back window and ran off at 9:30 a.m.

The 48-year-old was on his way to the Dartmouth courthouse.

The justice department spent a frantic few hours searching for him in the neighbourhood and released his photo to media outlets.

Jones ended the manhunt himself when he called police four hours later.

The justice department had already ordered new transfer vans, which are expected in March.

Michael Samson, the Liberal justice critic, said Landry’s answer was not good enough.

"Ross Landry talks tough as justice minister, but actions speak louder than words. I think Nova Scotians are getting sick and tired of seeing inmates police ... have put behind bars, only to watch this government bungle and see them wander around the streets of this province."

Nobody was hurt during the manhunt. Landry said an internal investigation will determine whether Jones had been handcuffed and when the sheriffs driving the van knew a prisoner had escaped.

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