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California DOC Starts Use of Electric Fence

On November 8, 1993, guards threw the switch on an electric fence surrounding the maximum security prison at Calipatria, CA. The $1.5 million fence stands 13 feet high, erected in a no man's land between two 12 foot fences topped with razor wire so that no one touches it accidentally. It carries 4,000 volts and 650 milliamperes. About 70 milliamperes is enough to kill a person.

As many as 20 other California state prisons will get electric fences in upcoming years. The California DOC estimates the fences could save the state $34 million a year by reducing the number of tower guards. They did not disclose how much it costs to operate and maintain the electric fence.

"The fence doesn't get distracted, it doesn't look away for a moment and it doesn't get tired," Warden K.W. Prunty was quoted as saying, "We already had a lethal perimeter. This is simply a way to keep that same level of security while saving money."

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