Monday, January 22, 2018
News Roundup

In wake of Orange County jailbreak, Tampa Bay jails keep facilities in check

The Hollywood-esque jail break of three inmates at a Southern California maximum-security facility on Jan. 22 has left authorities piecing together the details of their elaborate plan and still searching for the escapees.

Jonathan Tieu, 20, Bac Duong, 43, and Hossein Nayeri, 37, were all awaiting trial for violent —unconnected— crimes when they busted out of the joint in an action-movie kind of way: Cutting through metal, slinking through plumbing tunnels and rappelling four stories from a rope finagled out of bed sheets.

The inmates had access to tools that eased their escape and due to head count delays, weren't noticed missing for at least 16 hours.

All that left us wondering, what's stopping inmates at our local jails from getting their Shawshank Redemption schemes going?

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Major Mike Perotti weighed in on how the Pinellas County and Hillsborough jails keep the escape plots in check.

Head counts:

They happen every shift change, Gualtieri and Perotti both said, at least twice daily, and they're taken so seriously that the whole jail is on lock down until every one is accounted for. No one leaves, including employees, until the head count matches up with the computer.

Perotti said that in the Hillsborough jail's pods where the inmates live, there's a deputy inside with them seven days a week. Nobody comes or goes from the pod without the deputy knowing.

Sometimes, the computer and the head counts don't match up. It's treated as a serious situation, but usually has a logical, administrative answer — inmates are either being transferred somewhere or the computer system is updating. Either way, no one leaves until everything lines back up.

Contraband:

Obviously, the California inmates had a little help getting the tools they needed to cut through quarter-inch-thick grills on the jail walls. Those sort of supplies aren't typically issued to inmates for understandable reasons. So how does the jail control what comes in and out of their facility?

Simple. Visitors don't have access to the jails. The jails use a video visitation system to limit who can go in and out.

The jails allow only professional visitors to enter the jail — think lawyers, psychiatrists, etc.

"I'd love to be able to tell you that every single jail, including ours, doesn't have contraband, but I can't and won't," Gualtieri said. "But, we've taken great steps to minimize the amount that comes into our jail."

Perotti said strip searches are conducted when an inmate leaves the jail (for any reason) and comes back. Searches and "shakedowns" happen frequently in the inmates' pods to keep contraband in check.

Uniforms and IDs:

It seems like a silly question, but is it possible to mix up which inmates are which? Silly maybe, but valid, because it has happened before. In April 2002, an inmate at the Orient Road Jail in Tampa slipped on the uniform for a trusted inmate and moseyed out the door.

That sort of slyness wouldn't work these days at the Pinellas or Hillsborough jails, both Gualtieri and Perotti say.

All inmates wear ID badges with their names, photos and barcodes that scan their ID number, and different types of inmates are required to wear certain colored uniforms

Tampa Bay has seen a few other escapee situations before.

In 2004 Timothy Humphrey was on the loose for about three hours after escaping from Pinellas County Jail parking lot when transportation deputies left him unattended in the van. He loosened some bolts on the van's door, kicked it open and sprinted through the open gate.

Raymond W. Marston Jr. escaped Falkenburg Road Jail in October 2008 after he shimmied up a drainpipe, ducked through razor wire and traversed the roof of a building in the jail compound. He escaped through a construction site at the end of the facility.

More recently, in March 2014 Jeffrey Robert Stafford escaped Orient Road Jail right before he was about to be transferred to Polk. Stafford entered a vestibule with another inmate who was being legitimately released, and left with that person through the jail lobby.

Contact Hanna Marcus at [email protected] or (727)-893-8603). Follow @hannaemarcus.

Comments
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severs contract with CareerSource Pinellas

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severs contract with CareerSource Pinellas

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severed his agency’s contract with CareerSource Pinellas on Monday after learning that the jobs center told the state it helped 624 sheriff’s employees get hired since 2014.The sheriff said he has no record of CareerSou...
Updated: 7 minutes ago

TexasVoter-fraud panel targeted Hispanics, documents showPresident Donald Trump’s voter-fraud commission specifically asked for records identifying all Texas voters with Hispanic surnames, according to newly released documents. Records made public by...
Updated: 18 minutes ago

Baby, 11 months, dies in reported drowning at Brandon apartments’ pool

BRANDON — An 11-month-old girl’s parents said their daughter drowned in an apartment complex pond Monday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.The infant and her parents were not publicly identified by the Sheriff’s Office. The paren...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Father of Lyfe Coleman confronted suspect in son’s shooting death

Father of Lyfe Coleman confronted suspect in son’s shooting death

TAMPA — A loud knock at Life Malcolm’s bedroom door wrenched him from sleep just after midnight. In the darkness of that early morning — Jan. 5, 2015 — Malcolm opened the door and heard his sister say something about his son in the front yard.Malcolm...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Glass art shines at St. Petersburg’s new Imagine Museum

Glass art shines at St. Petersburg’s new Imagine Museum

ST. PETERSBURG — The bay area’s thriving glass art scene adds another member to its ranks Tuesday when the Imagine Museum officially opens in downtown St. Petersburg.Dedicated to the movement of studio glass, the museum is the brainchild of benefacto...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Water wars redux: Could Tampa-backed bills doom Tampa Bay Water?

Water wars redux: Could Tampa-backed bills doom Tampa Bay Water?

CLEARWATER — For 20 years, the regional water supply agency known as Tampa Bay Water has provided the state with an example of how local governments can cooperate to provide a vital resource to a large metro region.Now a pair of bills in the Legislat...
Updated: 2 hours ago
HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Misha O’Neal and Tyrick Brascom

HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Misha O’Neal and Tyrick Brascom

Misha O’Neal, Countryside The Cougars’ 69-63 overtime win against Clearwater last week had a little extra meaning to O’Neal. The guard transferred from Clearwater after last season. O’Neal led all scorers with 23 points and added nine steals. "We al...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Updated: 3 hours ago
Editorial: Look hard into Tampa Bay and Pinellas CareerSource CEO, and get to the bottom of the numbers and the money

Editorial: Look hard into Tampa Bay and Pinellas CareerSource CEO, and get to the bottom of the numbers and the money

Something is seriously amiss at Tampa Bay’s two CareerSource agencies, which receive millions in federal and state money to match unemployed workers with local employers. First, the agencies appear to be taking credit — and money — for job placements...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Water Street Tampa sketches vision for Marriott Waterside (with video)

Water Street Tampa sketches vision for Marriott Waterside (with video)

TAMPA — Water Street Tampa developers outlined some broad goals for their planned $40 million renovation of the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina in a video posted to social media on Monday.In short, they want a hotel that feels inclusive, not ...
Updated: 4 hours ago