A man escaped from a minimum-security Newcastle prison on Monday afternoon. Less than an hour after authorities announced he was missing, the man was back in custody.

James M. Kennah, 42, was found missing shortly before 3 p.m. Monday, a Wyoming Department of Corrections spokesman said in a statement issued about an hour after the escape. By 4:30 p.m., law enforcement had re-arrested Kennah.

Mark Horan, corrections department spokesman, said by phone that Kennah had been picked up in Wright by the Wyoming Highway Patrol. Horan said that Kennah had taken a car to Wright, but he did not know how Kennah had gained access to the vehicle.

Prosecutors could charge Kennah with a felony count of escape, but Horan said he did not know the details of that process. Kennah has been in corrections department custody since March, when a Campbell County judge sentenced him to three- to six-years imprisonment for a felony conviction of dealing in stolen property, according to online corrections department records.

In the Monday afternoon statement, Horan said Kennah was seen running south along U.S. Highway 85 toward Newcastle. Staff searched the facility but did not find Kennah.

Kennah was being held at the Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp, which abuts the Wyoming Boot Camp. The boot camp is a special program reserved for youthful offenders. The facility Kennah was held at can house 238 minimum security inmates who can sometimes join work crews for the State Forestry Division.

The statement did not indicate if Kennah was on a work crew at the time of his escape. Horan said by phone late Monday afternoon he was unsure of how Kennah had escaped.

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Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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