Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Correctional Services
Glenn S. Goord, Commissioner

Office of Public Information
[518] 457-8182

For immediate release:

Wednesday, April 15, 1998

Inmate walks away from Monterey Correctional Facility work crew

ORANGE - State and local police and Correction Officers are searching for a Monterey Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility inmate who walked away from an outside community service crew this afternoon.

Inmate Richard Melendez was assigned to a community service crew supervised by a Correction Officer that was clearing brush and trash from the Watkins Glen Cemetery. Eleven inmates and one Correction Officer were assigned to the crew. Melendez was last seen by the Correction Officer at 1:20 p.m. and was reported missing at 1:30 p.m.

State and local police were notified as soon as the inmate was reported missing and road blocks have been set up at strategic locations throughout the area. State police also are using dogs to search the woods adjacent to the cemetery and armed Correction Officers are conducting vehicle patrols throughout the area.

Melendez, 20, stands five feet eight inches tall, weighs 180 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes. He was wearing standard prison greens when he walked away from the work crew.

Melendez is serving a term of 1 1/3 to 4 years for two attempted third-degree burglary convictions out of Bronx County earlier this year.

Melendez was received into the State prison system on Feb. 6 and has been an inmate at Monterey since March 19. He would have been eligible for parole Sept. 17 provided he successfully completed the six-month Shock Incarceration program.

Melendez faces criminal escape charges in connection with the afternoon walkaway, which could add up to another seven years to his sentence. He also faces disciplinary charges at the facility level.

The last escape at Monterey occurred on Aug. 29, 1994, when an inmate walked away from an outside work crew. He was apprehended 2 ½ hours later in Syracuse.

Monterey, a minimum-security prison in Schuyler County, opened in 1958. It houses 283 of the 69,511 inmates currently in the State prison system.