Escaped Savannah inmate captured, neighbors left with mixed reactions

SAVANNAH, Ga. –  After more than 24 hours on the run, a Savannah inmate is back in custody after escaping from the Coastal Transitional Center.

The Georgia Department of Corrections says Terrell Wooten, 36, was serving time for theft. He was put on escapee status around 9:30 a.m Sunday morning.  The Georgia Department of Corrections has not released how Wooten was able to escape.

Wooten was spotted and captured at a Hardeeville motel around 9:30 a.m. Monday morning.

Currently he is being held at a Jasper County Detention Center awaiting an extradition hearing.

This is not the first escape the Coastal Transitional Center has suffered. This minimum security prison is located on Stiles Avenue in Savannah.

For more than a Savannah Alderman Van Johnson has spoke out against the transitional center’s location.

“We’re all for halfway houses. We believe that people should transition from a institutional environment to making successful transition into regular life. But we just don’t believe the solution should be a transitional intermediate center located in the middle of a residential neighborhood,” Johnson said.

Cheryl Edwards lives on Stiles Avenue and has lived in the Brickyard neighborhood her whole life.

Now a mom, she is concerned that her street is not safe due to the location of the prison.

“Because it’s supposed to be supervised at all times. So it makes me think there’s someone over there  who isn’t doing their job,” she said.

Across the street Jonathan Milton lives with the green prison building sticking out behind his backyard. He says people’s concerns are an overreaction.

“That’s coming from a person who’s never been on the other side of the fence,” he said.

Milton told WSAV he’s served five years in prison. Now free and a father to a young daughter, he’s asking his neighbors to reconsider the mission of the center.

“There’s criminals everywhere, there’s gonna be a criminal in your neighborhood. You just might not know that,” Milton said.

But Edwards says drastic measures need to be taken immediately.

“Move it. Find some place else for it. That is not a good place for it. This is a community,” she said.

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