A man sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing a Chattanooga police sergeant and wounding another officer was mistakenly placed in a lower security prison in October, reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
That marks the second time in as many years Jesse Mathews was placed in a lower security level prison by mistake.
Mathews, 30, was being held at West Tennessee State Penitentiary, a maximum security prison, and then was transferred to South Central Correctional Facility, a medium security prison, on Oct. 23, according to Tennessee Department of Correction Spokesman Robert Reburn.
Mathews was recently reclassified as a close custody prisoner, which the corrections department defines as a prisoner who requires heightened supervision because of his conduct and/or offense history. But the South Central Correctional Facility is not equipped to house close custody prisoners. He will be relocated to a close custody designated facility "ASAP," Reburn said.
There are four levels of prisoner classification in Tennessee — maximum custody, close custody, medium custody and minimum custody. Mathews was a maximum custody inmate but was recently reclassified as a close custody inmate.
On April 2, 2011, Mathews robbed the U.S. Money Shops pawnshop on Brainerd Road and got into a shootout with officers. Sgt. Tim Chapin was killed and Officer Lorin Johnston was wounded. Mathews eventually pleaded guilty to avoid the possibility of the death penalty.