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Home > Escapes from a facility, Security Operations, security > Why are There so Many Escapes - Lately

Why are There so Many Escapes - Lately

August 4th, 2009

Why are There so Many Escapes - Lately?

By Wm. Bill Sturgeon

The other day I read about another escape from a correctional facility. In the past, an escape could be a career ending experience for a chief correctional administrator. After many years in the field of corrections, I have reviewed many escapes and for the most part there are some basic similarities in every escape. While they all do not have to happen for escapes to take place, in today’s article we will look at some of these similaries. 

                                                                                                                      Similarities Found In Eascapes

   * Staff not following operating policies and procedures.  

   * Outdated policies and procedures.

   * Operationally impractical policies and procedures.
   * Insufficient staff training.

   * Insufficient staffing and line supervision.

   * Excessive staff turn-over.

    (Excessive staff turn-over results in the  facility having an inexperienced “green” staff trying to manage “seasoned”

  * Complacency and apathy among the staff members.

  * Lack of supervision, especially at the line level and at the first  level of management.

  * Failure of staff to follow Post Orders.

  * Insufficient management interaction with line staff and offenders.

  * Inappropriate / inoperable and/or insufficient technology.
  * Placing trust in offenders 
The above similarities,in my opinion, are the main elements that contribute to escapesfrom correctional institution. To help prevent escapes, agency administrators and staff need to conduct a realistic assessment of their own facility. If while doing these assessments they discover that their facility has some of the above identified elements, they should identify the issues and then develop a comprehensive corrective action plan and implement it as soon as possible.



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billsturgeon Escapes from a facility, Security Operations, security

  1. Kathy
    August 12th, 2009 at 10:42 | #1

    You are so right about the high number of escapes. The economy has not helped either, because of massive highing freezes which ultimately results in less staff to do more work. The answers to the problem is not complicated it just excuting the solution.

  2. Lawrence
    August 18th, 2009 at 12:59 | #2

    Seems like a no brainer.

  3. August 22nd, 2009 at 12:38 | #3

    Lawrence: While it does seem like a “No Brainer” it is a difficult issue to resolve. Although all new people go through extensive training they lack the experience level. Also, in most cases the new staff are good people and they are thrust into dealing with people that have learned to survive by anyway possible. Hey, thanks for commenting - keep them coming. Bill

  4. August 22nd, 2009 at 12:44 | #4

    Thanks for commenting. Hiring freezes, overloading staff, lack of training, and inexperience are causing all kind of problems all over the country. As I write the response a KY facility is experiencing a major disturbance and is on fire. Perhaps, I have been around too long. What I see now is what I lived through before. Lack of funds, staff, common sense, overcrowding, lack of programming creates a “Perfect Storm” for correctional disturbance/riots.
    Thanks for commenting - your opinion is very valuable to me. Bill

  5. Rae
    August 24th, 2009 at 16:39 | #5

    Hi Bill - so nice to see / read you again. Its been a few years since we’ve spoke and by the way Montana is still doing good. I like your article, as always “spot on” So with that said - How do we ensure our “seasoned” staff” dont become Complacant? Or worse yet infect our “green” staff with the “it wouldnt happen here” attitude? Thats the strugggle. Trying to enstill a sense of pride and commaradery is tough when the young new guys is promoted because he/she is willing and able without the time in and then supervise the older staff who is now pulling 8 then hitting the gate. Its a struggle and a challange we face and you hit upon in this piece.

  6. August 25th, 2009 at 17:21 | #6

    How wonderful to hear from you. Once again we are facing the young passing-by the old and supervising the older employees. Rae, this happens as the new generation take’s over. The only sugguestions that I have are:
    Strictly enforce all of the policies and procedures.
    The administration has to back-up the young supervisors.
    Constantly support the new employees and their positive attitudes, etc.
    Overcoming the “that will never here” outlook is something that we’ll be fighting forever. I do think, however, showing staff what can happen, how it happened, and how fast it happened, help those who want to be help.

    I this Blog to be a place where I can share my experience (and mistakes) so that those coming into the field will not have to make the same mistakes. I want each posting to be a mini-lesson. If you ever see me getting off track let me know.

    Rae, stay-in-touch. Bill

  7. Kathy
    August 26th, 2009 at 18:07 | #7

    I wholeheartedly agree with you Bill on your list of reasons why inmates escape along with his personal issues. Offenders might owe other inmates money and they don’t have the money to pay them back. Death threats!
    You hit on the major issues. Administrative staff also need to review old policies and there should be a check and balance system in place. Security procedures need to be tested every now and then to see if the policy and procedure are on the same page.

  8. August 26th, 2009 at 20:08 | #8

    Kathy: Thanks for commenting. I agree with everything that you have written. Security procedures MUST be tested - and they must be tested on EVERY shift - not just during the week in the dat shift.

  9. Gwendolyn Chunn
    September 11th, 2009 at 15:17 | #9

    thanks for adding me to “the list”. Good to see that you are still “fighting the good fight.”

  10. September 17th, 2009 at 09:27 | #10

    Thank you for emailing. I am trying to give back to the career field I love. I hope that you are well. Stay-in-touch.

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