(NewsNation) — We will likely never get to find out why Alabama correctional officer Vicky White helped inmate Casey White escape from jail before embarking with him on a venture that led police on an 11-day manhunt.
Vicky White fatally shot herself in Evansville, Indiana shortly before she and Casey White were caught by law enforcement.
Vicky’s death means the chances are slim of ever learning why the veteran correctional officer, who was nearing retirement, would help free an inmate locked up on violent charges.
But Anthony Gangi, the author of “Correctional Manipulation,” a book about how inmates can manipulate guards, has seen this kind of thing before. He calls it “downing a duck” when an inmate takes advantage of a guard.
“Downing a duck is really taking advantage of a staff member that may be a little bit too gullible or naive to the complexity of inmate manipulation,” Gangi said Thursday on NewsNation’s “Prime.”
He said the game of inmate manipulation is very “subtle.” It can occur when a guard wants to help an inmate without being defined by the roles of the institution, which gives the inmate an opening to take advantag.
Why would an officer, especially one like Vicky White, risk so much to help an inmate? Vicky White sold her home for far under market value, took $90,000 out of the bank and eventually lost her life in an effort to free Casey White from jail.
“I think their loyalty shifts. I think the inmate gets them to minimize the consequences by building a trust with them,” Gangi said. “Most of the time the external incentive not to do something is usually based on not getting caught, which isn’t strong enough when an inmate is able to challenge that.”
Gangi said inmates search for vulnerabilities in officers, looking for those who might be easily manipulated. This means analyzing their disposition, their defined purpose and whether or not they might be able to be pulled out of their role.
“Another thing they look at is the environment. And if you have an environment that isn’t complacent then the inmate is going to say, ‘Well, this isn’t worth the effort,'” Gangi said. “But if you have an environment that is lax … then the problem is you’re not setting up enough obstacles up to prevent the inmate from playing the game.”
Authorities said Casey and Vicky White, who are not related, had a “special relationship.” Yet specifics of why Vicky decided to free Casey from jail in Lauderdale County, Alabama remain unknown.
Vicky is now dead and Casey is back behind bars after he was apprehended by police shortly after Vicky took her own life.