ESCAPE FROM ANNEX: Commissioners Approve $150,000 Jail Annex Renovations

$150,000 that's how much will be heading to the jail annex for renovations.  The funds were approved during a Wichita County Commissioner's special session on Monday, four days after four inmates escaped.

Contractors will get to work as soon as they have all of the materials needed, which could be as early as this week.

Commissioners are very optimistic about the improvements and feel that once all the repairs have been made, it will be almost impossible for inmates to escape.

"That system has operated for over 12 years and somebody finally figured out how to defeat it," said Judge Woody Gossom.

And it wasn't an easy task.

"They were able to break that weld and bend that steel bar up and get onto that steel cage."

From there they were able to punch through the ceiling tile and exit the facility through the roof.  Local officials hope that never happens again and they're one step closer to that goal.

"Today we approved the architecture estimate of 150,000 of fabrication and welding to be done," said Judge Gossom.

The money will be allocated towards 14 pods inside the jail annex.  It will add steel metal across metal tubing already in place on the ceiling of the cells.

"It's going to be a great improvement to what's there," he said.

They also plan to fabricate cages and put them over the air handling system which leads to the roof.

"This will have cages that will go around that will protect anyone from getting into those," said Gossom.

The plans are in motion and with these new renovations officials hope that anyone who is behind bars, stays there.

Commissioners also discussed putting motion sensors on top of the roof as a precaution, but that has not been approved.

Judge Woody Gossom says renovations will take a few weeks to finish but should be completed before the end of September.