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I heard about TJ Lane’s prison break last night via text from my sister who lives near his home town. In fact, her children attend the same school system where he committed murder two years ago. If you don’t remember, in 2012 this 17 year old boy entered Chardon High School and shot six of his classmates, killing three and injuring three. He was sentenced to life in prison, three times over. You may also remember that he wore a T-Shirt with the word “Killer” written on it to court and flipped off the judge. This is not exactly screaming remorse to me in any way. While I won’t pretend to know the scope of what TJ Lane’s life was like prior to him committing this crime, I feel justified in saying that prison is where he belongs for the remainder of his life.
I was foolishly under the impression that violent offenders such as school shooters, ended up serving their terms in a maximum security facility. I was so shocked and confused trying to imagine how anyone could escape from such a facility! I envisioned Shawshank-style tunnels and amazing feats of knocking out power grids to release electronic prison doors…I don’t know, I probably watch too many movies; but how do you escape from a maximum security prison in this day and age?
Well… after reading the articles surrounding last night’s escape, I learned that TJ Lane did not escape from a maximum security prison. He also didn’t escape alone. He escaped with a few other inmates (including Lindsey Bruce, who kidnapped, raped and murdered a five year old girl and Clifford Opperud serving time for aggravated robbery) from Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution, which is a minimum-medium security facility currently at 115% of it’s capacity. These are not men with drug charges or violations of probation, these are violent offenders, two of them MURDERERS. These men killed children. Excuse my language, but What.The.Fuck? What are they doing there? I looked up a little information about security levels and what they mean in prison and here is what I found:

Minimum SecurityMinimum security correctional centers hold inmates who can be trusted in open conditions where there are fewer physical barriers to escape. Facilities

  • No armed guards or walls
  • House most trustworthy & least violent offenders
  • Dormitory style housing or small rooms
  • Often farms or ranches
  • Must be a sentenced inmate
  • Sometimes referred to as “Honor Farms”.

Medium SecurityMedium security correctional centres are normally surrounded by walls or high security fences, but inmates move around inside more freely than in maximum security. Facilities

  • Similar appearance to maximum securityMaximum security correctional centres hold inmates whose escape would be highly dangerous to members of the public or the security of the state. They have secure perimeter walls that have towers or electronic surveillance equipment. All remand centres are maximum security.
  • Security is less intense
  • More privileges
  • More treatment effort
  • Double row of fencing
  • Armed tower guards

Maximum SecurityMaximum security correctional centres hold inmates whose escape would be highly dangerous to members of the public or the security of the state. They have secure perimeter walls that have towers or electronic surveillance equipment. All remand centres are maximum security. Facilities

  • Fortresses
  • Cells / Blocks / Wings
  • Standard uniform & dress codes
  • Everything based on security
  • Armed tower guards
  • Usually double fencing, some with electrified inner fence

Ultra-Maximum SecurityMaximum security correctional centres hold inmates whose escape would be highly dangerous to members of the public or the security of the state. They have secure perimeter walls that have towers or electronic surveillance equipment. All remand centres are maximum security. Facilities

  • House most dangerous, predatory criminals
  • Extra-tight security and isolated conditions are common
  • All potential weapons removed, e.g. mirrors, toilet seat, soap dishes, etc.
Ok…can anyone please explain to me why TJ Lane and his fellow escapees do not fit into the Maximum security category? Why are they not in the Ohio State Penitentiary? I noticed on their website that there are currently 4 minimum security prisoners living in the Ohio State Pen…can we do a trade here? Thankfully, all three men were captured last night before they were able to harm anyone physically, but I’m sure it was a long and emotionally exhausting night for the families of their victims and others in the community. The list of things wrong with our justice system and prison system is a mile long, but I feel like keeping the worst of the worst contained should be a pretty high priority. I sincerely hope they plan on moving them to a more appropriate facility.
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