Editorial: Escape shows need for new jail
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 12, 2002
Tribune staff editorial
The second escape in as many years at the Freeborn County Jail is a much more serious matter than the first one.
Tuesday, February 12, 2002
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The second escape in as many years at the Freeborn County Jail is a much more serious matter than the first one. The escapee is a more serious criminal and he escaped from a part of the jail that was more difficult to breach. This highlights not only the need for a new jail, but also the need for short-term security measures – and, thankfully, both are apparently on the way.
Discussions about a new law enforcement center, including a new jail have been ongoing for years, and only coincidentally are now heating up. If anybody wondered whether the new jail was necessary, the escape should help make a case. Because of overcrowding, the escapee, Jason Tope, was in a medium-security cell even though jailers said he belonged in maxiumum security – an area with no windows. And because of the jail’s linear layout, there is no practical way to keep an eye on every inmate all the time. As it was, Tope had only a few minutes to make his escape and that was all he apparently needed.
This should help intensify the urgency with which county officials pursue a courthouse plan that provides a better jail.