Sandoval County: Guards didn’t follow protocol when wrong inmate was released

Ryan Griffin
Ryan Griffin

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – An inmate is back behind bars, after being mistakenly released from jail Wednesday.

State Police found Ryan Griffin at around 3:00 a.m. Thursday morning at a home on Summer Shower Road, near I40 and Arroyo Vista.

Ryan Griffin (photo courtesy of New Mexico State Police)

A neighbor tells KRQE News 13 the homeowner wasn’t there at the time.

“I was in my house with my kids, worried about my kids…” he said. “This is a quiet neighborhood, it’s kinda weird to see something like this happen here.”

Police say Griffin was released from Sandoval County Jail Wednesday afternoon after pretending to be another inmate who was set to be released.

Sandoval County Deputies say Griffin was in jail on drug and stolen property charges.

In an interview with the Public Information Officer for Sandoval County, Sydney Hill, he said Griffin stole the ID card from his cellmate who was going to be released that same day.

Hill also said, “He actually went to great lengths to look like this individual.”

Coincidentally, officials say Wednesday was also haircut day at the jail.

“He took advantage of that opportunity to shave his head to match the hairstyle the other inmate had,” Hill said.

Hill said when Griffin was removed from his cell Hill said the three guards that are responsible for releasing inmates, didn’t follow protocol.

He said the ID card that Griffin had taken didn’t have a photo of the inmate on it.

“But they do have pictures of them in the file, and the pictures should have been looked at more closely,” said Hill.

Griffin has a long rap sheet for burglary and credit card theft charges. He also escaped from jail back in 2008 and KRQE News 13 has learned he was also mistakenly released from Colfax County earlier this year, when he should have instead been returned to the Metropolitan Detention Center.

This is the second escape at the Sandoval County Jail since May, when two inmates got out through a rec yard fence. Back then, the jail said it planned to make changes to make sure incidents like this would not happen.

“The similarities between the two cases are that in both cases, there were procedures and policies that are in place that were not properly followed,” Hill said.

Hill also said the final guard that sees inmates before release is supposed to ask a series of questions that only the inmate would know. He said those questions weren’t asked, but if they had been, he said the officers likely would have realized Griffin was the wrong inmate.

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