Needed Jail Repairs Lead To Prison Break

How did four inmates remove a 300 pound door, take it upstairs to a cell occupied by 2 other inmates, and use it to break through the wall, all without being seen or heard by guards?

That's a question Sheriff Melvin Brisolara is determined to answer.

Sheriff Melvin Brisolara says, "We do have an internal investigation going to try and answer some of these questions for us. There's a possibility of some type of diversion that was done to lure the officers into other areas of the facility."

He does understand how they were able to scale the razor wire fence without being seen.

"We have perimeter security camera on this facility, when they were installed they worked about a month. They have not worked here in the past couple of years," Brisolara said.

Brisolara says these and a long list of other problems are not new to the nearly 20-year-old facility.

"What you're seeing here are not problems that happened over night," Brisolara said. "We have about 80 percent of the cell doors in this facility that don't lock. They're able to knock these type of doors in this facility off the hinges. Right now we're trying to lock them up on the honor system, and it's just not working."

In fact, Brisolara has declared a state of emergency which will virtually lock down the facility, and he's asked for and been promised manpower help from the State commissioner of corrections.

"We're down about 40 correctional officers right now. We can't concentrate on people coming up here for visits or anything else."

The improvements he says will take time and money, but he says this high profile escape should show everyone the high price they're paying now for years of neglect.

"I want the citizens to feel comfortable that we're taking more drastic steps in securing this facility. Steps that just have to be done," Brisolara said.

Brisolara says the Board of Supervisors has been very receptive to his ideas. He expects them to award a bid to replace the doors and locks at tomorrow's board meeting.

Sheriff Brisolara says he plans to be there and discuss with them other security improvements that need to be implemented immediately.