West Texas jailbreak has law on the hunt

DICKENS, Texas – West Texas authorities were searching in subfreezing temperatures late Sunday for an Idaho man who escaped from a privately operated prison in Spur.

Scott Noble Payne, 43, escaped from the Dickens County Correctional Center at about 7:30 p.m. CST, said Janie Walker, a dispatcher with the Dickens County Sheriff’s Office.

State and local authorities from surrounding counties joined the two-man Dickens County Sheriff’s Office in the search for Payne, Walker said. The search involved helicopters, dogs and road blocks.

Jail staff members believe Payne scaled the facility’s fence, the Idaho Department of Corrections said in a news release. Authorities believe he did not have extra clothing.

Temperatures in the region had dropped to the mid-20s degrees by 11:30 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Payne was serving time for Idaho charges of aggravated battery and lewd and lascivious conduct, according to the Idaho Corrections Department.

He was one of about 100 Idaho inmates being held at the Spur facility, which is located about 60 miles east of Lubbock.

The prison, which is operated by Florida-based The Geo Group, Inc., is designed for minimum- to maximum-security levels, according to the Geo Group’s Web site. It has a capacity of 489 adult males.

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