New video shows 2 inmates escape Philadelphia prison; not enough guards on duty, DA says

Ameen Hurst and Nasir Grant broke out of the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center back on May 7.

Thursday, November 2, 2023
Guard asleep on job without knowing inmates escaped Philly prison: DA
New video shows the moment Ameen Hurst and Nasir Grant escaped the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center back in May.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A Philadelphia correctional center has come under close scrutiny after two inmates managed to escape the facility back in May, and it was all caught on surveillance video.

District Attorney Larry Krasner also revealed to city council Wednesday that a guard was asleep on the job the night of the escape. Motion sensors had been off for more than a decade, old camera systems and a hole in the fence that prison employees knew about are among other glaring issues Krasner brought up.

The newly released video shows the actual moment the two inmates walked out of their cells at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center and crawled through open parts of the prison to avoid detection.

Ameen Hurst, now 19, and Nasir Grant, 24, escaped on May 7. Hurst, who had been charged with four counts of murder, was arrested after 10 days. Grant, held on conspiracy drug and weapons charges, was taken into custody four days after the escape.

SEE ALSO: How an alleged killer and another inmate escaped a Philadelphia prison

The two escaped through a gap cut in the fence that had been there for nearly seven weeks and had been noticed by prison staffers at least four days before the escape, said District Attorney of Philadelphia Larry Krasner during Wednesday's hearing by Philadelphia City Council's Committee on Public Safety.

Krasner said there weren't enough guards on duty to monitor every area and also said a motion detection system, plagued by many false alarms due to geese landing in the area, had been "turned off for more than a decade."

The DA explained how the inmates escaped, including showing video of the them opening cell doors that were supposed to be locked with inmates inside for the night. Video also shows them walking down a hallway and crawling toward a door as another prisoner - also out of his cell - acted as a lookout.

One guard post in the cellblock was unoccupied and another guard monitoring the unit also had to watch two other areas, Krasner said. Another guard later reported for duty but fell asleep, then didn't conduct required prisoner counts, which allowed the long delay in detecting the escape, Krasner said.

City Councilmember Sharon Vaughn introduced a resolution over the prison break. She said she was inspired by the terror many city residents felt and because her brother, a correctional officer, told her of difficult working conditions.

Ameen Hurst, 18, is accused of committing four murders. He escaped from the facility on May 7.

"It's very important they get the proper funding, that the equipment is updated, that the facilities are maintained," said Vaughn.

Commissioner Blanche Carney said changes in executive leadership had been made and she had asked state prison officials for a security assessment.

Union president David Robinson, who represents Philadelphia corrections officers, has long been outspoken about his members' increasingly difficult conditions and their no-confidence vote of Carney.

Chopper 6 over the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center on May 8, 2023.

A class action lawsuit outlining the conditions already led to a federal judge ordering an oversight monitor last year.

Four people have been charged with helping the escapees. Krasner didn't announce any new arrests on Wednesday but said the investigation was ongoing, and that he would present council members with more details in private. The accomplices were supposed to have a hearing this week but it has been postponed to December.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.