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CCA Faulted in Texas Jail Escape

Staff shortages, unwatched video surveillance monitors, unlocked doors, untrained staff and a security alarm that was ignored by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) employees contributed to the August 27, 2000 escape from the Bartlett State Jail near Austin, Texas.

Sixteen problems, the biggest of which was human error, allowed the escape to occur concluded a report from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).

Ten TDCJ officials formed a faultfinding team to investigate and affix blame for the escape of Kendall James, 21, and David Sanders, 40. The two prisoners were working in the jail's kitchen when, around 4:00 a.m., they walked through an unlocked door, climbed a fence, entered the maintenance department through another unlocked door, "borrowed" some hand tools, cut through two more fences, and departed the facility at 4:51 a.m.

The Bartless Police department, located just ten minutes away, was unpromptly notified of the escape at 9:40 a.m.

The TDCJ pays CCA about $950,000 per month to operate the 1,000man state jail. The state will withhold $84,027 from CCA to recover the, costs to capture James and Sanders, who were captured the day after their escape.

Source: Southland Prison News [a publication of the Prison Media Fund, PMB339, 955 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139. Subscriptions: $15/year for prisoners, $25/year for nonprisoners.]

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