Sheriff's Office Searching for Furloughed Inmate

By Lee Hermiston, Reporter

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By Aaron Hepker

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The Linn County Sheriff's Office is looking for a furloughed jail inmate who failed to return to the jail.

According to the sheriff's office, 30-year-old Emmanuel T. Pledge, 30, failed to return to the Linn County Jail on Monday after being released on a court-ordered furlough on Nov. 22. Pledge is serving a 300-day sentence for driving while barred.

Though the sheriff's office doesn't track court-ordered furloughs, which are issued by a judge, Sheriff Brian Gardner said they are not uncommon. Furloughs are granted when an inmate's attorney goes before a judge and requests the temporary release. They are different from a work release, which the sheriff's office also permits.

"Typically, they'll do it for a funeral or other important events where it makes sense to allow the inmate to be present," Gardner said. "Sometimes, in our view, it doesn't make any sense; but, more often than not, it does."

Gardner said he doesn't know the circumstances of Pledge's furlough, except that he was supposed to return to jail at 9 a.m. Monday morning. When jail staff called a contact Pledge listed when he left, they told the jailers that Pledge thought he was supposed to be back at 9 p.m.

"We said, 'no harm, no foul,'" Gardner said. "He did not show up at 9 p.m."

If authorities hear an inmate is seeking a furlough that is believed to be a flight risk or risk to others, they can contact the county attorney's office who will send a prosecutor over to present those concerns to the judge at the same time the defense attorney is making the request. Sometimes, however, the sheriff's office is not made aware of those requests before it's too late, Gardner said.

Gardner estimates 80 percent of all furloughed inmates return to jail when scheduled.

Pledge is a black man, 5'7" and weighs 140 pounds. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to called the sheriff's office at 319-892-6100 or the Cedar Rapids Police Department at 319-286-5491.
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