THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY RELEASES NEW FINDINGS FROM ONGOING PROBE INTO THE DANIEL SKELTON ESCAPE
News Release from DPS August 29, 2014
HONOLULU — The Department of Public Safety has released some preliminary findings in the ongoing investigation into the June 15 escape of OCCC inmate Daniel Skelton.
Skelton escaped from OCCC after he climbed through a hole in the shower area of Annex 1 to get into the ceiling and onto the jail roof. He jumped off and escaped through a perimeter breach. At the time, Skelton was at OCCC pending trial for a burglary charge. He was classified as Medium custody.
Parts of the investigation are still pending, including possible staff misconduct, but the Department is able to release some preliminary findings into how Skelton escaped.
After jumping down from the roof, Skelton walked around the back of the Annex and followed the fence line along Kamehameha Highway. The investigation confirms that once Skelton jumped off the roof, he walked around the back of the Annex, through a gate, along the fence line and out along the edge of the parking lot. He was shielded by parked vehicles, and exited the facility grounds in darkness.
Original reports said he was present at two headcounts during the midnight shift. After further review it was determined he was last seen at the 10 p.m. headcount and left the facility sometime between 10:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
Annex 1 was originally designed for work furlough inmates. However, because of overcrowding, additional security features were added to upgrade the building for medium security inmates.
“This escape should not have happened. Several things contributed to it. When we upgraded the security of the building, we failed to consider the ceiling and roof. Some polices were not carried out properly and the perimeter in the area of Annex 1 was not strong enough.” said Public Safety Director Ted Sakai. “
Since this incident, policy has been tightened so that all gates are secured at all times. The roof of Annex 1 and the ceiling in the shower were reinforced to prevent escape through that route. Additional razor wire has been added to the perimeter fence and an additional gate was installed to add an extra element of security around the Annex. Lighting around the buildings was fortified and the facility will be adding more lighting along the fence.
The Department is also looking into ways to upgrade security around the fence line of OCCC and other facilities.
“Before the escape, we had already arranged with a consultant to assess the perimeter security of all of our facilities. They surveyed the fence lines at all jail and prison facilities statewide,” said Sakai. “Their assessment included sensors and cameras around the entire fence of OCCC. This will cost about $200,000 to purchase and install.”
Skelton was captured by Sheriffs on the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force on June 18. The manhunt was a joint effort between Sheriffs and Honolulu Police.
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SA: Vulnerabilities in ceiling, gate aid inmate's escape
KITV: Investigation still pending, including possible staff misconduct
KHON: State admits OCCC escapee walked out of open gate
HNN: Weak ceiling, open gate, helped Oahu inmate escape walk out of jail