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Kidnapper and repeat maximum security prison escapee Jimmy Causey recaptured

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- An inmate who escaped twice from maximum-security prisons in South Carolina has been recaptured, authorities said early Friday.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections tweeted word of Jimmy Causey's apprehension:

Agency spokeswoman Sommer Sharpe says Causey was arrested by the Texas Department of Public Safety around 3 a.m. Friday. There were no immediate details on where in Texas Causey was found or other aspects of his apprehension.

Guards realized Wednesday afternoon he was missing from the Liebert Correctional Institution in Ridgeville, about 30 miles northwest of Charleston.

Authorities were still trying to determine how Causey made his latest escape. No details have been released on that escape. 

On Thursday, authorities had sought the public's help in their manhunt by offering a reward, but authorities warned anyone who encounters the inmate to call 911 and not to approach him.

A wanted poster posted to the Department of Corrections' social media accounts described Causey, 46, as having a medium build with blue eyes and brown hair. He is 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighs 177 pounds and has a one-inch scar on the left side of his chin.

Causey's disappearance had people on edge just weeks after two inmates in neighboring Georgia killed their guards on a prison bus and escaped for two days before being caught in Tennessee.

Causey was sentenced to life in prison ijn 2004 on kidnapping charges from the year before for invading the home of high-powered defense attorney Jack Swirling, who'd defended Causey in a previous case, reports CBS Charleston affiliate WCSC-TV. Swirling and his family were duct-taped and held at gunpoint.

Richland County investigators believed at the time Swirling was targeted because Causey and his accomplice believed he had large sums of money. 

In 2005, Causey and another inmate escaped Broad River Correctional Institution near Columbia by hiding in a trash truck.

The pair eluded authorities for three days before being caught at a motel along busy Interstate 95. A pizza delivery driver told The Associated Press in 2005 that she tipped off authorities when she recognized a customer as one of the two men being sought.

Both men were returned to prison. Two years later, Brewer was found hanging from a bed sheet in his cell. Grilled by state lawmakers about how the escape happened, then-prisons director Jon Ozmint blamed budget cutbacks that had forced his department to cut 800 security positions, leaving some areas like the trash compactor and loading dock unmonitored by officers.

The director also said the men had fashioned fake heads out of toilet paper and put them in their beds, fooling officers at a 7:15 a.m. prisoner count. After a 9 a.m. count came up short, officials did a roll call and realized the two were missing.

Following his capture, Causey was held in South Carolina's most secure, super-max facility in Columbia, but he was eventually returned to the system's general population.

Ozmint, an attorney who now consults with prison systems across the country, told AP on Thursday that there are a number of reasons why even escape-prone inmates such as Causey typically must be returned to the general population.

Ozmint said it's easy to criticize corrections officials when inmates escape, but concerns about inmate mental health have put limitations on the use of solitary confinement or other strict conditions sometimes referred to as "lockup."

"Inmates like Causey years ago were kept in lockup forever," Ozmint said. "Now, the courts have said they have to have a path out, and it has to be a meaningful path out."

It's also more expensive to house inmates in lockup units, with more security required for even the most basic movements and tasks. South Carolina has been moving away from a reliance on lockup since at least 2014, when the state settled a lawsuit over the treatment of mentally ill inmates.

"That guy is never going to stop trying to escape," Ozmint said, of Causey. "You can't keep him there forever anymore. It's really a Catch 22."

In December, another inmate serving a life sentence escaped from a different maximum-security prison in South Carolina. Authorities said 47-year-old Michael Allen Williamson stabbed a police officer during his escape from McCormick Correctional Institution in the western part of the state. The officer's protective vest deflected many blows, but she was treated for two stab wounds to her arm and shoulder.