County Grapples With Jail Security
Officials in Thurston County, Wash., are considering installing new security measures in a courthouse elevator where a county corrections officer was attacked by an inmate trying to escape. On March 31, the officer was escorting the prisoner from the courthouse’s jail to a courtroom when the prisoner hit an emergency-stop switch, causing the elevator to halt in between floors.
Because the elevator stopped where it did, officers could not open the doors as they heard their co-worker screaming and fighting with the inmate.
In order to prevent such a situation from occurring again, officials would like to equip the elevator with a security camera and a switch linked to the jail’s master control room, where someone could operate the elevator or open the doors if an officer gets into trouble.
Prosecutors and judges have also discussed increasing the use of videoconferencing as a way to reduce the need to transport inmates to and from court. The county’s District Court–where misdemeanor cases are heard–is already set up for video appearances, although the Superior Court would need to be wired for it.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Olympian (WA) (04/04/06); Gutierrez, Scott; Latson, Jennifer .