Entries in Correctional Facility (3)


Six Teen Offenders in Washington Caught After Knocking Out Guard

Kevin Horan/Stone(SNOQUALMIE, Wash.) -- Six teenage boys are back in custody after police say they knocked out a female guard in the violent offender wing of a Washington juvenile correction facility, stole her keys and radio, and then fled into the woods.

Staff at the Echo Glen Children's Center in Snoqualmie, Wash., alerted the King County Sheriff's Office at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday after the female guard was found by inmates unconscious in a locked room.

Authorities from the sheriff's office, Washington State Patrol and Snoqualmie Police Department quickly mobilized to search the wetlands that border the facility, which is 25 miles east of Seattle.

The six escapees -- three 14-year-olds and three 15-year-olds -- were spotted in the woods by a sheriff's office helicopter equipped with infrared.  The teens then broke off into groups of two, trying to evade capture, said Cindy West with the King County Sheriff's department.

"They were trying to get out of the woods and into the residential area," she said.

Deputies in the helicopter were able to direct deputies on the ground, who were using dogs from the K-9 unit, to where the teens were hiding.

One teen was bitten by a police dog while trying to escape arrest.  The other five boys were arrested without incident and booked on charges of assault, unlawful imprisonment and escape.

West said most of the boys were serving time for assault, firearms and burglary charges.

Echo Glen is a medium/maximum security facility, however it is not fenced.  It houses younger male offenders and is the only institution for female juvenile offenders in Washington, according to the Washington State Department of Health and Social Services.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Smuggled Cell Phones Prove Latest Problem For Prisons

Stockbyte/ThinkStock(DALLAS) -- Cell phones are causing headaches again for Texas correctional officials.

Two years ago, after a state lawmaker started receiving threats, apparently from a convict, a sweep of the massive Texas prison system turned up over 100 smuggled cell phones, along with accessories like chargers and batteries.  It's now become an issue in county jails, too, after one inmate used his phone to plan his escape and then to go on Facebook once he was out. 

Officials are looking at ways to electronically jam cell signals rather than trying to round up all the smuggled devices.  ´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Is the Government Overpaying for Prison?

Darrin Klimek/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Keeping some federal detainees in motels might be cheaper than renting them a cell in a local jail.

A report released Monday reveals the federal government will sometimes pay more than $100 a night to house detainees at state and local corrections facilities. For that price, you can get a clean room, cable TV, and a buffet breakfast at many national motel chains.

An audit conducted by the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General charges that the federal government is paying $1.2 billion a year -- and at least $15 million too much -- for jail space. Ironically, the report also found that the feds are often being ripped off by their correctional colleagues in state and local government.

"We found that state and local detention facilities at times take advantage of a shortage of options for federal detainees and demand rates that appear to generate excessive profits -- sometimes in the range of millions of dollars," the IG report states.

It's simple supply and demand: state and local governments have empty jail cells, the federal law enforcement officials need them to house federal detainees temporarily. Immigration or drug enforcement sweeps, for example, can flood the system with suspects who need to be incarcerated. With demand for jail space high, state and local governments are driving a hard bargain.

The audit found that the federal government pays an average of $65 per night to keep between 35,000 and 37,000 detainees locked up every night. In some cases, however, the audit found the feds pay as much as $119 a night. According to the Hotel Price Index for 2010, the average hotel room in North America cost just under $115 per night.

The IG examined 25 agreements for jail-day rates paid by federal corrections officials, and found that it "potentially paid about $15 million more than it cost the facilities to house federal detainees..." The audit concluded that the federal government "would have realized significant cost savings if it had consistently used a jail's operating expense data as leverage in its negotiations to achieve a fair jail-day rate."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

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