Inmates receive extra jail time for leaving work detail - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Inmates receive extra jail time for leaving work detail

(WMC-TV) - When the inmates snuck away, they were on a work detail at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, boxing Christmas packages for the needy.

At the same time, a high-profile funeral was underway in the building, and it seems the inmates couldn't resist a peek.

For the first time Wednesday, Director of Corrections James Coleman answered some burning questions about a bizarre incident involving inmates who crept off a work detail to attend a funeral.

"They were able to leave without being detected by our supervisors and went upstairs and viewed a body," said Coleman.

Coincidence put the inmates on a work detail during same time of Universal Auto Body and Kustoms owner Cecil Tuggle's funeral. 

"This was very unusual in a lot of ways. How many funerals have ever been held at the Cannon Center?" said Coleman.

Tuggle died in a drive-by shooting in front of his shop December 6.

"I think they were intrigued by the superstar atmosphere," said Coleman.

Rapper Yo Gotti bank-rolled the high-profile funeral.

Loved ones said the father of three, known as C-Baby, was a good person.

He had an extensive rap sheet with crimes ranging from drug possession to aggravated robbery.

"I was very concerned about it," said Shelby County Commissioner Chris Thomas. 

Thomas said people flooded his office with calls.

There is one supervisor to seven inmates. 

With three supervisors on site that day, six of the 21 inmates there got away.

"These are inmates who were not guilty of any aggravated offenses," said Coleman.

The supervisors have been disciplined.

"It's a good program. We just have to make sure it's done correctly," said Thomas. 

The inmates were taken off the work detail and received extra jail time.
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