ATLANTA — Hard time, it wasn’t.
A federal prisoner and his girlfriend have been charged with running a taxi service for minimum security jailbirds in Atlanta, driving them to buy booze, smokes and other contraband before returning them to jail.
Prosecutors say Deldrick Jackson, who is serving time in the Atlanta penitentiary on a cocaine and money laundering rap, and his girlfriend, Kelly Bass, collected $4,000 over six months for shuttling inmates out of the minimum security prison camp through a hole in the fence.
Bass, 38, would sit outside the prison fence in her Acura SUV and would sometimes drive prisoners to go shopping, or to a local hotel, or would just hand them the contraband goods they had asked for, according to court documents.
Among the items they would sneak in included bottles of alcohol, cigarettes and cigars, mobile phones and even nail clippers, prosecutors said.
In January, prison officials installed cameras near the holes in the fence and captured footage of Bass picking Jackson, 41, and other prisoners up and then returning them hours later.
In April, officials stopped Bass’ vehicle after a pickup and arrested her and Jackson. A search of the car turned up two cell phones, a box filled with packs of cigarettes, and several bottles of alcohol, prosecutors said.
The pair were charged with escaping from a federal prison and assisting others to escape.
Federal officials said the scheme underscored the “very clearly the problems at the federal camp of the U.S. Penitentiary Atlanta but also the efforts underway by the FBI, working with the Atlanta Police and its other law enforcement partners, to remedy the matter.”