Two inmates apprehended in Dickinson after escape from women’s prison

On Wednesday, Oct. 15, two inmates of the Dakota Women’s Correctional Rehab Center escaped from custody.

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor |

On Wednesday, Oct. 15, two inmates of the Dakota Women’s Correctional Rehab Center escaped from custody. Jessica Marie Briggs and Justice Maxine Lange were able to get away at around 10:45 p.m. Details on how the two women were able to escape have not been released due to an ongoing criminal investigation.

When it was realized that the correctional center was short two inmates, authorities at the Hettinger County Sheriff’s Office were notified. A call was then placed over state radio to alert other law enforcement agencies about the situation.

Standard protocol at the correctional facility during something like this is a complete lockdown of the building. There is no transportation to, or from the facility. The only movement in the building is to deliver meals and medication. And in this case, they are brought to the inmates.

At 1:09 a.m. early Thursday morning, residents of New England were notified of the incident via the North Dakota Emergency Notification system. ‘A reverse 911 call’ was given, according to Hettinger County Sheriff Sarah Warner.

In the message residents were made aware of the situation, along with the escapees names, a physical description, and a brief description of what they were wearing.

Along with all the alerts, the Hettinger County Sheriff’s office begins to look for them.

“We do a search,” Warner said.

That search ended shortly after 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 16 after the Dickinson Police Department apprehended the two women. According to Dickinson PD Captain Joe Cianni, they received a call indicating the two were walking on the 300 block of third Avenue W. in Dickinson. An officer in the area drove to where the sighting occurred and approached them. Shortly after that the two were apprehended, without incident, close to the 500 block of third Avenue West.

“They voluntarily surrendered,” Cianni said. “They did not attempt to flee from the officer.”

After they were caught, the two women were taken to the jail in Dickinson where they waited until eventually being transported back to New England.

A detailed list of the official charges was not readily available because they are still pending at this point.

Warden of the correctional facility, Rachelle Juntunen, said they will perform an internal investigation on this incident.

They will also be conducting a review of all of their procedures. Then they will turn over all their information to the law enforcement authorities as they investigate the crimes of the two inmates.

“Once they take off, it’s a criminal offense,” Juntunen said.

Juntunen also said this is only the second escape incident in the facility’s history, the first occurred prior to Juntunen assuming the duties of Warden and was a case of a girl fleeing from Dickinson.

But this marks the first time anyone has escaped directly from the prison.

“They are the only ones that have taken off from the facility in New England.

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