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ISSUE: Detention Center fortifies perimeter
OUR VIEW: Beefing-up barriers to escape was needed
Following the jail breaks of four inmates on two separate occasions in the past six months, additional measures have been implemented to beef up security at the Hardin County Detention Center.
Earlier this month, Brandon Board and Vance Tate escaped by crawling through a hole they dug in gravel beneath a chain-link fence surrounding the jail’s minimum security facility. Tate and Board executed their escape in almost blueprint manner in a break-out that took place last November.
The previous escape in November involved Lonnie Ray Coy and Joshua Nunn, inmates who also were incarcerated in the same area of the jail, exiting the front door of the facility, digging under and slipping below the same portion of fence.
Board, Nunn and Tate have been recaptured. Only Coy remains at large.
In an interview following the latest escape, Jailer Danny Allen indicated he can no longer take a chance on another escape occurring like this and has taken steps to correct the gap in the facility’s confinements.
At his direction, two concrete slabs have been poured beneath the problem fence. Barbed wire also has been added. And a new chain-link fence has been raised around the front porch and entrance area leading into the minimum security building.
Together, these steps should serve as layered deterrents to inmates considering the same potential path to possible freedom.
No doubt, Allen and his detention center staff have their hands full. Housing those who’ve been charged and convicted of breaking the law is no easy task.
Confinement, by its very nature, provides little more than time and boredom for an inmate. Any seasoned law enforcement or penal system veteran quickly will testify time and boredom are a dangerous combination.
Add in limited local budgets, diminishing — if not altogether nonexistent — state revenues, and the requirements and restrictions mandated by the Department of Corrections or other state and federal agencies, and the task only gets more difficult to carry out.
Although a bit delayed in implementation, the steps taken should serve to be appropriate, cost-effective measures to plug this particular flight-risk breach. But one thing is certain. More inmate break-out and walk-off attempts will happen in the future.
A necessary cat-and-mouse game must be carried out to identify, evaluate and preempt possible escape routes incorrigible prisoners may attempt. This is a matter for consideration daily.
We have confidence in Allen and his staff in carrying out this part of their important duty for the community.
This editorial reflects a consensus of The News-Enterprise's editorial board.