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By M.E. Jones


SHIRLEY — An inmate housed in one of the minimum security cottages at MCI Shirley apparently walked away and was reported missing Sunday night.

Prison officials notified the Shirley Police Dept. at 7:41 p.m., according to the police log.

Police Chief Paul Thibodeau said that unlike the last time a prisoner was absent without leave from the prison, with disastrous results, notification came early this time.

The inmate, Joseph Kacevich, 27, is a white male, 220 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Previously from Dorchester, he was serving a sentence for nonviolent crimes, the chief said.

The incident is called a “walk away” because it was probably planned, he explained. Most likely there was an escape plan and a car waiting to transport the inmate from prison grounds.

Earlier Sunday, Thibodeau said he’d had a discussion with National Grid about power outages in relation to the fact that there’s a prison in town. He stressed the importance of street lights remaining on in areas near the prison, such as Harvard Road.

After police were notified of the escape, an established escape response procedure was initiated, with the assistance of Massachusetts State Police. MCI Shirley corrections officers were posted around town as part of the plan.

In the earlier incident several years ago, a prisoner had failed to return from a work release assignment and there was a gap in communication. The prisoner was subsequently stopped by a police officer in town and shot the officer in the chest. That officer has been disabled ever since. The escaped convict was killed in a high speed chase over the state line in New Hampshire.

Procedures have been tightened since. In the recent escape, an all-points bulletin was issued to every police department in the state. While the prisoner is still at large, an investigation team has been sent out to attempt to track down his whereabouts, Thibodeau said.

As of Wednesday, the prisoner was still at large.