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Jailbreak Highlights Bigger Problem At Henry County Jail

Last updated on Wednesday, October 17, 2012

(NEW CASTLE) - An inmate is back in custody after a jailbreak this week, but the Sheriff in charge of keeping him locked up fears it could happen again.

29-year-old David Kline was found in a motel one day after he escaped from the Henry County jail in New Castle sometime Sunday night.

Sheriff Butch Baker believes Kline slipped through a hole in the jail roof.

About a week ago, he explained, jail officers discovered two holes in the jail roof. He said a few inmates first pulled a piece of metal off the ceiling and then broke through the concrete using a metal pipe ripped from the plumbing inside a cell. The pipe was wrapped in fabric from an inmate's uniform and a screw was smashed onto the end of it.

The cells were immediately closed off while maintenance workers repaired the holes, but sometime Sunday night, a 100 lb Kline snuck into one of the cells with the pipe and dug the hole wide enough to fit through.

Baker believes once on the roof, Kline jumped onto a nearby shed in the front lawn and escaped.

While Kline is back in custody, Baker fears another jailbreak.

He said the old jail is in poor shape, which makes it easy for inmates to defeat security measures. However, his biggest concern is the shortage of officers.

At any given shift, there are only two officers watching 122 inmates. One officers stays in the control room, while the other walks the floor.

Baker says it's not safe for the inmates or the staff.

He recently ran out of federal funding that helped pay for extra officers. He's asked County leaders for more money to hire six part time officers in hopes of avoiding any future problems.

Baker says more routine patrols throughout the jail cells might've allowed officers detect or catch the inmate escape in progress.

The Henry County Council and was told they are sympathetic to Baker's concerns, but they have tabled his proposal to the beginning of 2013.

Baker said he understands that nearly every community is battling tight budgets these days, but if what Kline accomplished this week is any indication, he fears what might happen if nothing changes.

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