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franklin county times

Escape solution: Razor wire

By Staff
RAZOR WIRE After a recent escape, razor wire was placed along the ceiling in the jail's visitation room, leaving no crawl space. Photo by Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
May 25, 2001
Jail officials say razor wire installed in the visitation room in the Lauderdale County Detention Facility should thwart further escape attempts.
The highly visible razor wire was placed there in response to an April 23 escape, during which inmate Derek Houston stood on top of a visitation partition, removed the ceiling and crawled through to the other side, lowering himself to freedom through an air conditioning duct.
Officials had considered placing the razor wire above the ceiling tiles, but Sollie vetoed that suggestion.
The razor wire adds to the $5,000 worth of razor wire threaded along the jail's exterior walls. That wire was put in place after several people were caught trying to break into the jail, either to aid an escape or to pass contraband, and after the successful escape of Zachary Kothenbeutal.
Houston's escape was similar to that of Kothenbeutal, who escaped in March 1999 while awaiting trial on a murder charge. Kothenbeutal also escaped by going through a ceiling and lowering himself with two sheets through an exterior air vent.
That problem was solved by placing wood beams between the brick wall and the ceiling, leaving no space for a body to crawl through.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3236, or e-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.