New fence for laundry at Pitchess
Patricia Farrell Aidem, (661) 257-5251 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals In 2004, three laundry workers escaped while on duty and were recaptured heading south on Interstate 5. In a separate incident, a fourth attempted escape, but was captured on the jail grounds hiding in a laundry truck. The problem, according to the report, was that the security system is designed to alert guards to an escape, not to physically block inmates from fleeing. Fences do surround the sprawling complex in a remote canyon east of I-5, but escapees have breached them in the past and fled into neighborhoods or out of the area with a friend waiting nearby in a car. Inmates wear electronic bracelets that alert deputies when they are tampered with or when worn outside a permitted area. Compounding the escape risk is the fact that inmates who are minimal flight risks are a rarity in jails as budget cuts have limited jail beds to the worst offenders, the report said. So the latter are used to work the laundry, which processes thousand of pounds of bedding, towels and clothing daily. “Now, (the Sheriff’s Department) must lower its eligibility requirement and accept an ‘edgier,’ potentially more dangerous class of inmates as laundry workers in order to continue to fill the inmate worker staffing needs,” the report said. CASTAIC – A 12-foot-high fence will be erected around the massive laundry at the Pitchess Detention Center, a move to prevent escapes by inmates who work in the facility, the county’s chief watchdog agency reported. The Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review, which delivered its annual report last week, called the security plan a sensible one. The OIR found no negligence on the part of county sheriff’s deputies who run the 10,000-inmate Pitchess jail complex in Castaic, noting that appropriate security measures were in place. Two men escaped just days apart this summer. One was recaptured hours later in a Valencia neighborhood, the other remains at large.