Inmate escape caught on surveillance video

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Three inmates who escaped from the Effingham County Jail on Thursday afternoon are now in custody.

At 3 p.m., deputies observed three inmates run out of the back gate at the Effingham County Jail into a wooded area between First Street and Third Street in Springfield.

"The fence out back was brittle enough that they were able to twist the wire until they were able to break it and come out," Effingham County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said.

Deputies along with several area law enforcement agencies immediately set up a perimeter. All three inmates were apprehended in the wooded within less than an hour after the escape.

The inmates who escaped have been identified as Jason Grantham, 24, of Tybee Island, Justin Lewis, 21, of Bloomingdale, and Daniel Jeffers, 21, of Bloomingdale.

Grantham was incarcerated facing charges of armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, burglary, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and criminal trespass.

Lewis was awaiting trial on two charges of possession of a controlled substance.

Jeffers was incarcerated for probation violation with an original charge of criminal attempt to commit armed robbery.

All three have now been charged with felony escape, criminal damage to government property, and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.

McDuffie says the escape is part of a large problem – the jail is old and falling apart.

"The escapes we've had have been mostly because of safety concerns. The window frames are rusting out. The fences aren't as good. It's becoming an issue," Sheriff McDuffie said.

McDuffie says the jail is almost 20 years old and was designed only to last 10 years.

They are hoping to start construction on a new jail by the end of the year.

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