White County Sheriff answers questions about jail-break - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

White County Sheriff answers questions about jail-break

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WHITE COUNTY, Ill. -- The White County Sheriff addressed county leaders and the community tonight at the first board meeting since three inmates escaped from the jail in mid-June. 

Since the now captured inmates escaped, a ten foot fence lined with razor wire has been placed along the outside of the jail where the cells are located. The sheriff also says they've improved the brick wall itself, to make sure inmates are not able to bust through it as the three did June 16.

The sheriff also says he's appointed a new jail administrator. The previous administrator is still employed at the jail. 

White county residents packed the board meeting to hear what Sheriff Doug Maier would say about an internal review of the department which was conducted after the jail-break.

Sheriff Maier explained that the 43-year-old facility had walls made with cinder block, but the blocks were hollow,  "The biggest concern was that the jail building itself was not built secure enough to prevent this from happening."

He says the board, and local residents can rest easy now because they've filled every cinder block with concrete and put in rebar.

Maier says the inmates broke out through an area hidden by their bunks and out of sight from corrections officers. 

"We've changed the set up in there. We no longer have two double bunks together, we've got a single bunk and we've changed some other issues that i think will make it where we can view that area now much more clearly," the sheriff explained.

The sheriff also gave some insight into what Zachary Shock and Johnny Tipton were doing during those three weeks on the run. 

He said they mostly stayed along the river, sleeping on the banks. Maier says after finally tracking them down, both Shock and Tipton were ready to give up after weeks living in the woods. 

Sheriff Maier said a corrections officer did hear a knocking while the inmates created the hole in the wall, but it wasn't as loud as one would suspect to break through a wall. The sheriff said it's hard to hear in audio recordings from inside the cell. The sheriff says he hopes to release surveillance video of their escape soon.

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