Walker County Jail security concerns after inmates escape



Dangerous jail conditions have Walker County authorities worried for public safety. Inadequate fencing, poor locks, and not enough guards have created a crisis. In fact, just last night, two inmates were able to pick locks and escape. They were later caught. Administrators gave us an up close look at the growing danger level.

Walker County Jail Administrator Trent McCluskey gave us a walking tour..

"This was cut in a triangular fashion and wired back together with clothes hangers," Trent McCluskey, Jail Administrator said.

The holes in the fence were cut by people trying to sneak contraband to inmates.{}

Because of a lack of funding...

"My jail staff took clothes hangers and wired this together to close it so it wouldn't be easily penetrated," McCluskey said. "It's certainly not repaired. It's literally wired together."{}

Not only is the fence a problem, but inmates figured out how to pick the cell locks.

"The concern is these locks which secure the perimeter, they can be breached, as has been demonstrated by prisoners doing so," McCluskey said.

Wednesday night, two inmates escaped the jail. They made it as far as the yard when deputies caught them. {}

"When you've got 6-7 guys in here who are jailers and 150 inmates, all they have to do is start a fight 5-10 of them and the rest of them can go out any door they want," Dan Wright, County Commissioner said.

"How dangerous is it?" we asked.

"How do you measure that?" McCluskey said. "I don't know. It's as dangerous as those that are kept here against their will."

He says the problem is the lack of finances - something he hopes the Commission will quickly address.

"How committed is the commission to fixing this?" we asked.

"If we can all get on the same page, it doesn't matter how committed they are - this is public safety," Wright said. "This is one of the biggest issues this county has and it's got to be done."{}

Jail staff spent Wednesday night trying to reinforce doors with steel posts, but during our visit, the State Fire Marshal ordered jail workers to remove them.

"We can't wire it together with a clothes hanger or a grill off of a fan and go home and hope that the public is safe," McCluskey said. "This requires our attention. It requires our action."