Police seeking Maryland Penitentiary inmate who escaped from guard after visit to doctor
[Baltimore, MD]

Peter Hermann
February 21, 2001 Wednesday Final Edition
Copyright 2001 The Baltimore Sun Company All Rights Reserved
The Baltimore Sun
February 21, 2001 Wednesday Final Edition

(BALTIMORE) -- Police searched yesterday for an inmate who officials said escaped while he was being escorted from a doctor's appointment at the Maryland Penitentiary on East Madison Street.

Russel Simmons, 25, of the 200 block of E. Lafayette Ave., was charged in a warrant with escape, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Officials said Simmons, in prison on handgun and drug charges since July 4, 1999, was scheduled to be released April 14, in less than two months.

Because his release date was so close, prison officials said Simmons was being held in the pre- release center in the 900 block of Greenmount Ave., where "he was being prepared for re-entry to society," said Division of Corrections spokesman David B. Towers.

A corrections officer escorted Simmons from the pre-release center to the front doors of the Maryland Penitentiary, a 200-foot walk, Towers said. He saw a doctor and was being escorted back "when he bolted" about 10:50 a.m., Towers said.

Simmons was neither shackled nor handcuffed. Towers said those measures are not commonly taken for inmates who are close to their release dates and housed in minimum security. He said Simmons had no history of misconduct in jail.

Towers said Simmons was last seen running south on Greenmount Avenue.

Simmons is described as a black male, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 150 pounds. He has black hair, in plaits, brown eyes and a medium complexion. He has tattoos on his neck.

He was wearing designer blue jeans with "Sean John" written on the back, a light green sweatshirt and work boots.

Towers declined to identify the corrections officer from whom Simmons escaped. He said an internal investigation will determine whether any rules were broken.

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