Inmate walks off work release

Police and Harlan County Detention Center staff are looking for an inmate who ran from the inmate work release program on Friday in Harlan.

According to jailer B.J. Burkhart, inmate James Curtis Lewis, 26, ran off while inmate crews were cutting the hillsides of the bypass in downtown Harlan.

Burkhart said jail staff reported seeing Lewis less than five minutes before loading their work equipment back into the work vans before being transported back to the facility. Staff noticed a Weedeater on the ground beside of the work van unaccounted for. A head count was done, revealing Lewis as missing.

Burkhart said Lewis was last seen just yards from the New Hope Church (across the street from Southern Wholesale Lumber Company).

Burkhart said Lewis is a bi-racial, light skinned male with green eyes, dark brown hair, about 5’10”, 165 pounds and has Kentucky tattoo on his throat.

Lewis is classified by the Kentucky Department of Corrections as a Community Level inmate, allowing him to be part of the outside work details. He is not considered dangerous.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of the escaped inmate, please contact your local law enforcement agency.
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