MUSKOGEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - Both of the inmates who escaped from a work crew in Muskogee County are back behind bars. The Sheriff says the men were helping patch county roads when they disappeared.

The two men were working just east of Summit when they walked off from their work crew. Sheriff Charles Pearson said he's disappointed because they were trusted to be out in the community.
 
Deputies with the Muskogee County Sheriffs Office and members of a U.S. Marshals task force started looking for Mark Stubblefield and James Thomson Monday afternoon when the inmates ran from their work crew.

Stubblefield and Thomson were awaiting trial on various charges including forgery, drug possession and outstanding warrants.

"It's just unfortunate. It's a program where were trying to get non-violent offenders and we're trying to help them," said Muskogee County Sheriff Charles Pearson.

Pearson says inmates with good behavior and non-violent charges are allowed to apply for the work program.

Just after noon on Tuesday, deputies found Thomson at a home in Muskogee. Originally officials said Stubblefield was caught hours later, around 7:00 Tuesday night, at a federal building about a block from the jail. It was later said he turned himself in.

Summit resident David Milligan watched deputies search for the inmates around his home. He doesn't understand why inmates on the work crew would run off like that.

"It's really a privilege instead of sitting in jail all day long, so they've lost that privilege forever," he said.

Milligan believes the inmate work crew program is a benefit for taxpayers.

"It helps. It keeps from paying our county and city workers from patching these holes; we get some use out of them from people that's done bad," he said.

Sheriff Pearson says new security measures will now be added to the work crew program.

"You think that we just put them in jail - we just let them sit there. These men were trying to work with them and help them,"the sheriff said.

The sheriff said thee non-violent inmates could now face charges of escape.