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Investigation underway after inmate accidentally released to his mother

Posted at 8:39 AM, Sep 27, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — An investigation is underway after an inmate was accidentally released to his mother despite his parole being retracted due to a disciplinary violation.

The Utah Department of Corrections reported Joseph Armijo, 34, was released Tuesday to his mother while he was being held at the Davis County Jail under a state contract.

Armijo was arrested in January on charges of aggravated assault, assault of a pregnant woman and aggravated kidnapping. He was set to be released Tuesday but then his parole was canceled due to a disciplinary violation.

“It wasn't violent, it wasn't anything where somebody was hurt or anything violent, but it was a violation of what we call his 'case action plan' and it was behavior that we don't support and would not help him prepare to reenter society," said Spencer Turley, the Asst. Dep. Exec. Director with the Utah Department of Corrections. "And so the board of pardons determined that they were going to review that case and not allow him out of prison.”

Somehow the cancellation wasn’t communicated to all key players, leading Armijo to be out of jail for 14 hours until deputies realized the error. They later found him at his mother’s home and re-booked him into prison.

“He didn't try and run, he didn't try and hide, he was very compliant and we took him right back to prison last night as an inmate," said Turley.

Strangely enough, Armijo and his mother were both aware of the decision to not release him from prison before he walked out.

“One of his case managers went to his cell and specifically told him that the board of pardons had rescinded his date because of his behavior. And so he was told that he was not getting out that day,” Turley claimed.

Whether Armijo faces consequences for knowingly being released is still part of an investigation.

The Davis County Sheriff’s Office says Armijo’s release from the jail wasn’t typical.

“The typical process for release is that most inmates head back to the prison, where they will go through their release at that facility," said Stephanie Dinsmore with the sheriff's office. "A special exception was made to have this inmate released at our facility due to the proximity of his mom and her location to our facility in Davis.”

However, Dinsmore adds she doesn’t know if this played a role in the miscommunication or not.

An investigation is underway and being led by the Utah Department of Corrections and the Davis County Sheriff's Office to determine how to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.