Community reacts to two jailbreaks in two weeks at St. Mary Parish jail

Posted at 8:14 PM, Jun 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-16 21:14:50-04

St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s deputies are still searching for an escaped inmate.

Jeremy Perez was being held on aggravated flight from an officer and drug charges.

Perez’s escape is the second in as many weeks from the parish jail.

On June 3, four inmates escaped from the Centerville jail. Two of them made it as far as Mississippi before being caught. All four of those inmates are back in jail. 

The escapees have those living in St. Mary Parish worried about the security at the jail.

"Something’s got to be done. I have children. I don’t even want my kids to go out and play by themselves, you know," said Centerville Market employee Jessica Darby.

That’s the general feeling of residents who live near the jail. The escapees have them concerned for their own well-being. 

"I think they need to close the prison down until they do some renovations and relocate the prisoners," said Darby.

"It’s the officers, you know. We need more security around here! I stay around the street, man! Man, and I got kids! Man, I don’t feel safe around here at all," said Terrance Ballet, Sr. of Franklin. 

People are also worried that these escapees could encourage other prisoners to try to make a jailbreak or embolden other criminals on the outside.

"Because somebody else could get hurt: an innocent bystander or an innocent person at their home. Whatever they did, they might have a gun or a knife, we don’t know, and break into that person’s home and harm them," said Deacon Harold Molo of Centerville. 

Despite their worries, those living around the jail are confident justice will prevail.

"I don’t know if it’s an inside job or an outside job. I don’t know who’s involved and what’s going on. And, I do know that a person is going to reap what they sow. So, you may have gotten away for a few minutes, but you’re gonna get caught again," said  Marilyn Smith of Baldwin. 

As of Saturday evening, Perez is wanted on one count of simple escape. 

If you have any information about Perez or his whereabouts, contact the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office at 337-828-1960 or 985-384-1622.