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Prison guard suspended

A Hernando County Jail corrections officer has been suspended for three days without pay after the July 3 escape of an inmate who remains on the loose.

According to a written disciplinary action in her personnel file, Officer Janet Ramos failed to adequately supervise a garbage detail in which John P. Devane fled after going outside with another inmate to empty trash.

Devane, who was awaiting transfer to state prison on a four-year sentence for armed burglary, slipped away by telling the other inmate to tell Ramos he had gone to relieve himself behind a trash bin.

Authorities said Devane, 35, managed to get outside in the first place by fishing a low-security inmate bracelet out of a jail garbage can after it was thrown out by a released inmate.

Sometime later, Devane switched armbands, convincing guards that he was allowed out of the jail as long as he was supervised by an officer, a sheriff's report said.

By the time Ramos went to see what was taking Devane so long, he was gone.

Warden Kevin Watson said Tuesday that security had been tightened at the jail, with trash bins having been moved inside the compound.

As for Ramos, Watson said: "She's a good employee. Everybody makes mistakes."

Ramos could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Devane has spent most of his adult life in prison on burglary and theft convictions. In 1984, he was sentenced to one year after escaping authorities in Hillsborough County. Last month, he was sentenced to four years for armed burglary. His last known address was listed as 12119 Patco Circle in Hudson.

Anyone with information on Devane's whereabouts is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 754-6830 or the anonymous tips line at 797-8477.

_ Staff writer Jennifer Farrell covers Spring Hill and can be reached at 848-1432. Discuss this and other issues in our Web-based discussion forum at http://www.sptimes.com/hernandoforum.

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