Sheriff's Office looking to improve jail security

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by Steve Ryan

azfamily.com

Posted on February 7, 2013 at 9:36 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 7 at 9:40 PM

PHOENIX -- On the heels of a couple of recent escapes from Maricopa County jail facilities over recent months, the Sheriff's Office is launching internal investigations, and changes.

"Our jail facilities are secure, and thorough," said Captain Brian Lee, the Deputy Chief of the Custody Bureau. 

Lee also pointed out that jails are an ever-evolving system, not an exact science, and that law enforcement has to keep a balance between civil rights, resources, and cunning criminals. 

"These guys have 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to think of ways to get out of jail, and try to manipulate the system.  It's difficult for a secure environment to exist while maintaining constitutional rights, especially in a psychiatric unit," said Lee.

Recently, an inmate named Adan Orduno escaped from his cell in a psychiatric unit.  According to paperwork obtained by 3TV, he stuffed milk cartons into his jail uniform, then put it in his bunk to give the appearance that he was sleeping. 

Investigators say he then used a combination of acrobatics, home made tools, and manipulation to break through a metal girder system in the ceiling.  Orduno then escaped via a crawl space, but was caught a few hours later.

"There were structural problems with the building that we were not aware of. Whenever one of these incidents happen, we learn new things that need to be addressed.  We've become aware of the steps that need to be taken to have a secure facility, and have new training in place," said Lee. 

Some cells are also being renovated to improve security.

Maricopa County is home to one of the largest jail systems in the country.  Some years, it has had several escapes. Other years, it hasn't had any. 

On the same note, almost every detention facility in the country, including local jails, state and federal prisons, have had escapes.

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