Thursday, July 03, 2014

Inmates compromise jail locks in Van Zandt County

English jail cell door, UT Tarlton Law Library collection
Dozens of inmates were removed from the Van Zandt County Jail after "inmates figured out a way to compromise the locking systems." KLTV reported (July 2) that "one of the inmates figured out how to compromise the locks and started teaching others his tricks." Added the Tyler Morning Telegraph (July 1):
Following an inspection of the facility, it was determined that although the locks were functioning as designed, an engineering flaw existed with the mechanisms enabling a simple process to defeat the security of the lock.

This issue effected confinement cells in high security sections of the facility as well as ingress and egress access to the building.

State and County Officials were immediately notified of the situation and the Sheriff’s Emergency Action Plan was put in action.
Because the separate, newer constructed Minimum Security Confinement Facility was not equipped with the same locking systems, of the currently incarcerated 161 inmates, 90 were required to be transported to the Henderson County Jail and 35 to the Kaufman County Jail and the remaining female inmates were transported to the Upshur County Jail for the safety and the security of the inmates and the jail staff.
One wonders how many other secure lockups this same vendor has sold these locks to?
Surely tiny Van Zandt County can't be their only client. See this essay for more background on how locks in detention facilities can be defeated by enterprising inmates.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for showing up how to beat the locks.

Anonymous said...

Showing "us" not "up."

88 said...

A sign of the times, "tiny" Van Zandt county has over 130 inmates. Reckon how many are there because the "state" decided they needed protection from themselves? The War on Drugs, a War on People.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Perhaps that's subjective, 88. I grew up in Tyler so I consider Van Zandt County "tiny." Wikipedia says it had 52,579 people at the census, a quarter of whom were children. Here's a list ranking Texas counties by incarceration rate, for context.

Anonymous said...

This problem is widespread at Bexar County Jail. Our most dangerous inmates are able to open their doors with a torn piece of sheet. Those that know what they are doing, can open their door in seconds. Ive seen it first hand and have begged our administration to fix the problem...they are more interested in making sure the floors are waxed and that we are complying with American Correctional Standards (which is a major pain in the butt).