ESCAPE FROM ANNEX: Sheriff's Office Looking To Keep Annex Secure - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

ESCAPE FROM ANNEX: Sheriff's Office Looking To Keep Annex Secure

We're taking a closer look at security at the Wichita County Jail Annex.  It's still under lock down because of Thursday's escape.  The Sheriff's Office assures us staff and inmates are safe, but investigators are looking into what can be done to prevent similar escapes from happening again.

"It's just policies that are put in place for the security of the prisoners as well as the staff," said Deputy Marvin Joyner.

That means inmates can't leave their cell pods at any time -- except for medical emergencies -- and they can't receive letters, use the phone, or even see any visitors.  In the meantime, investigators are still looking for clues about how the four inmates escaped.

"They wanna make sure they gather any evidence they can, make sure that they gather all the facts, take statements from inmates that were in the pod," Joyner said.

All of the inmates from the pod the escapees were in have been temporarily moved to another part of the annex, which means, some others have been transferred out of town.

"We wanted to make sure that pod was secured again for use, make sure that any deficiencies in that cell were fixed," Joyner said.

He also said the Sheriff's Office is looking at fixing weaknesses in the entire facility.  They're working with a contractor and an architect to see what can be done to prevent future escapes.

"Pretty much the whole facility; from the external pods to ventilation systems, anything where an inmate could possibly escape," he said.

A lock down is nothing new; the Sheriff's Office can put one in place anytime it feels it needs to go in and check either security or safety.

"Normally they will try and process that scene as quick as they can so I think it's just gonna be a matter of a few days and they'll open back up," Joyner said.

Additional or improved cameras are just one of the things that could be considered in improving security.  Right now the Sheriff's Office is going over audio and video recordings from yesterday morning as part of the investigation.   

Officials will keep the lock down in place as long as the investigation into the escape is still open.  The length of a lock down is always determined on a case-by-case basis.

Spencer Blake, Newschannel 6

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