Authorities say Dean Randolph Jess took a prison work truck and then took off.
Jess went went missing from prison grounds right around 11 a.m. Monday.
Taryn Korang, a local resident, said, "it makes me nervous being around Deer Lodge knowing that it could be a threat around here."
Many of the residents we talked to said having an escapee on the loose gives them an uneasy feeling, especially with summer season and kids being out of school.
Local resident Secilia Newman said, "it's scary, knowing that our prison is where most of the sex offenders and child molesters go, and it's summertime and there's a lot of little girls running around, and it's scary because it's only five or six miles out of town."
Another woman said she is concerned enough to change her plans. "I did look online and see of picture of him just in case so I can keep an eye out," she said. "We were going to go camping and we decided not to, so that sucks."
The Powell County Sheriff's department is conducting the search operation.
The State Department of Corrections stresses that any escapee should be considered dangerous.
Dean Randolph Jess is described as 5'10", 180 pounds, with a shaved head and green eyes.
If you have any information on his whereabouts, contact your local authorities immediately.
Jess was charged and convicted in 2005 with raping a pre-teen girl several times.
At the time, he was already a registered sex offender but failed to register his address when he moved to Livingston.
A judge sentenced him to 25 years in prison.