Jail Security: Just How Secure Is It?

JUNE 23, 2006 -- POSTED AT 8:00 P.M. CDT

GREENE COUNTY, AR -- Tuesday, a murder suspect, a rape suspect, and four others successfully escaped from the Van Buren County Jail by punching a hole in the roof. Most think that inmate escapes are fairly rare, but Greene County Sheriff Dan Lankston told us the hard truth about jail and life behind bars.

"You get a variety of people, a class of people and they all have different histories and there are different charges. We have felons and we have misdemeanors and we try to separate those people," says Greene County Sheriff Dan Lankston.

Sheriff Lankston says that every jail is different when it comes to security measures, but they all seem to run into the some of the same problems.

"There are different situations and different people and again, the antiquity of the jails and even the new jails, the maximum security jails, they'll figure out a way. If there's a will, there's a way and you just stay on your toes," says Sheriff Lankston.

Sheriff Lankston says they are always working to prevent escapes, but because of all the different inmate backgrounds, he says it always remains a possibility.

"All they have to do is sit in their cell for 24 hours a day and they think of ways to create problems for us. In some ways, they figure out a way to get outside and it's our job to try to detour that," says Sheriff Lankston.

Sheriff Lankston did mention that the inmate escape rate across Northeast Arkansas is fairly low, but the chances are still in existence and because of that, they keep the doors locked and their eyes always open.

Police are still searching for 3 of the 6 inmates that escaped Tuesday from the Van Buren County Jail. Still missing is 39 year old William Charles Callahan, 23 year old Edward Messer Junior and 24 year old Lester Paul Byes. If you have any information in this case, or the whereabouts of the suspects you are urged to contact the Van Buren Police Department.