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Prison fence contacts targeted

June 06, 2000|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Being outside the fence of the Franklin County Prison could result in a person landing inside the fence under a proposal being considered by the Board of County Commissioners.

In an effort to reduce the amount of contraband coming over or through the razor wire-topped chain link fence, the commissioners may establish a no trespassing zone outside the prison. The county is considering an ordinance with a maximum fine of $1,000 or 10 days in jail, Commissioner G. Warren Elliott said Tuesday.

"In order for it to have teeth, we were advised it had to be in the form of a resolution," Elliott said after a meeting with county attorney Welton Fischer. He said an ordinance could be ready for advertising in the next month.

"The bottom line is nobody has any business being out there," Commissioner Bob Thomas said.

Two inmates, Steven L. Silverman, 30, of Hagerstown, Md., and Scott C. Taylor, 24, of Sharpsburg, Md., used smuggled hacksaw blades to cut through a cell window on April 19. Both men were captured in Maryland in May, but the escape has prompted the county to consider new security measures.

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"This escape was found to be aided by someone from the outside," said Thomas, who is also president of the Franklin County Prison Board.

Warden Ray Rosenberry said after the escape the hacksaw blades were probably thrown into the prison exercise yard and picked up later by Silverman and Taylor.

Daily patrols of the fence line and exercise yard by corrections officers occasionally turn up other types of contraband, Thomas said. Since the prison banned tobacco several years ago, the contraband is often cigarettes.

Thomas said a recent find was a carton of cigarettes bound in tape with adhesive on both sides. The carton was camouflaged with grass.

In another incident, a carton of cigarettes covered with fish hooks was found outside the prison's A-Block, he said. Thomas said the idea was apparently for an inmate to use a string to catch one of the hooks and reel the cigarettes into his cell.

Elliott said county staff will consult with Rosenberry to determine the dimensions of a no trespassing zone.

The Pennsylvania State Police, whose barracks is next to the prison complex, will help enforce the no trespassing zone, Thomas said.

The prison is adding additional razor wire around the exercise yard and roof to reduce the chance of an escape. Thomas said doubling or tripling the outside lighting is also under consideration.

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