Clark Co. sheriff’s department investigating after male inmate escapes cell


by Renee Murphy

Posted on February 24, 2014 at 7:53 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 24 at 8:01 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The Clark County Sheriff's Department in Southern Indiana is investigating how a male inmate was able to get to the female side undetected.

The men and women at the Clark County Jail are separated but last week the sheriff said inmate Michael Zalat was able to sneak into a female area for hours.

"Are there mistakes that happen every day? Sure. We try to make sure those mistakes don't happen again and move forward and we are constantly trying to improve out facilities," Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden said.

Sheriff Danny Rodden said Zalat went to the female pod to confront his ex-wife.

Authorities say nothing physical happened and Zalat was able to get to the female area by hiding in an employee bathroom and slipping through a door an officer left open. Actions by that officer are being addressed.

"He did some things wrong we have him down for remedial training. He should have contacted main control so they could focus on that section on the monitor. He didn't do that. He should have had the door closed behind him and he didn't do that, should have made a head count and didn't do that," Rodden said.

The whole thing was captured on video but the officers didn't see it and didn't know Zalat was missing until inmates alerted the staff.

"The corrections officer found him and got him out without incident," Rodden said.

This incident comes as the Clark County Courthouse has been under fire. There are accusations of inmates being held too long at the jail, the county's drug court program has been suspended and the probation departments home incarceration program has come into question.

The Sheriff said this is the first time anything like this has happened in the eight years he's been in charge.

The Sheriff says they are talking to prosecutors to see if Zalat broke any laws.

The other corrections officers who were working that day and could have seen Zalat were given letters of reprimand.

From now on the employee bathroom will be locked and maintenance staff will check the doors to make sure they are closed.