Prison makes changes in security

October 05, 1994|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,Sun Staff Writer

Neighbors of the Patuxent Institution in Jessup say they are relieved by changes made at the maximum-security prison after an inmate's escape two months ago.

But many residents -- as well as Del. Virginia M. Thomas, who toured the institution Monday -- say they hope more can be done to increase security at the prison.

Among the changes made by prison officials are installing a $52,000 razor wire fence and clarifying the use of sirens to alert residents to future escapes, according to Leonard A. Sipes Jr., spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

The new prison policy will be to sound an alarm as soon as prison officials suspect that an inmate might be missing, then set off another alarm to signal either an all-clear or that an inmate has escaped, said Ms. Thomas, Democratic candidate for state Senate in District 13.

Residents also said they are concerned about the type of prisoners housed at Patuxent.

They said that the inmate who escaped, Kevin Siler, should have been placed in the Maryland Penitentiary in Baltimore -- which is intended to be a more secure prison -- instead of Patuxent because he had already tried an escape from the nearby Maryland House of Correction in Jessup in 1989.

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