Hubbard County inmate charged with making 'jail ale'
Two separate incidents in the Hubbard County Correctional facility have resulted in charges against two inmates.
In the case of the "jail ale," Tyler Maurice Roy is scheduled for an omnibus hearing Jan. 31 in which Hubbard County jail personnel found five bottles fermenting in Roy's cell Nov. 9.
Roy, 25, of Bemidji, has been incarcerated on burglary and stolen property charges and was recently transferred to Beltrami County.
Officially, he is charged with possessing contraband, a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine upon conviction.
A correctional officer performing a routine cell search found and reported the five fermenting bottles of bread, sugar and fruit.
"They do a daily cell inspection which is a visual observation and that's when it was found," said jail administrator Sherri Klasen. "You know, it's always a possibility if they see an officer coming they can hide it on their person but looking at the pictures it doesn't look like it was anything that was going on for any length of time."
In other words, the brew wasn't ready for consumption.
And Klasen said there are vending machines on the cell blocks that sell pop in bottles, so inmates are generally allowed to have such items in their cells.
In the second case, Jesse Lafe Evans Jr. pleaded guilty this week to making two "shanks," prison lingo for knife-life weapons, that were discovered Nov. 6.
Klasen said he'd used a hardened plastic cup, which all inmates purchase upon arrival, sharpened the tips, reinforced the blade portions and wrapped the handles in string.
"Both shanks are very sharp and stiff enough to deeply penetrate human skin," the criminal complaint states. However, unlike the hooch, this charge is a felony that carries a maximum of 5 years and/or a $10,000 fine upon conviction.
Evans, 22, of Akeley, was incarcerated for theft, assault and drug charges at the time the weapons were made.
"Actually this particular thing is very unique," Klasen said of the weapon. "I'm trying to think if we've ever had this happen in the five years we've been in this building. This would be the first, at most the second for that.
"That's a very unusual" (occurrence). "Very," she said. "He had to pay for the cup to break it. Most inmates don't go to the extent of making a weapon."
Klasen said neither incident would cause jail personnel to heighten security.
"You always watch closer, especially someone that shows some indications of doing something like that," she said of Evans.
"Your typical inmate is very compliant to the rules and they don't destroy their property and that is one of the things during a cell inspection they look for," she added.
"You have inspections and shakedowns," she said of the security procedures. "Inspection is a visual observation. Shakedowns are done very frequently and randomly."
Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne said he doesn't think the two incidents indicate a lapse of jail security or problems.
"It just kind of goes in streaks," he said.
Both defendants are no strangers to jails. Each has a lengthy criminal history.