Prison security improved following 2013 escape

Authorities are in the process of installing new security fencing at Northward Prison to help prevent escapes following a prison break two years ago.

A project to significantly strengthen the perimeter fence at the prison compound was completed earlier this year. A tender went out Friday for a second project to install a new internal fence at the prison’s vocational center.

Prisons director Neil Lavis said the work followed a review of security in the aftermath of the successful escape in August 2013, when three prisoners broke out of a secure recreational area in the prison’s B Wing and cut through two perimeter fences.

At the time, authorities highlighted the fact that the fence could be cut with tools.

Legislators allocated $1.3 million in the 2014 budget for additional security measures, including CCTV and fencing, at the prison.

Mr. Lavis said, “This was part of the full review that was done following that incident.

“It will be significantly harder for someone to breach our perimeter once this project is completed.”

The request for proposals that went out on Friday was for supply and installation of a chain link fence and razor wire surrounding the prison’s vocational area.

“The work on the perimeter fencing for the prison has already been completed,” added Mr. Lavis.

Numerous security flaws at HMP Northward were highlighted in an inspection report in January 2013, which warned that upgrades were needed just to meet category C standards – the third highest of four security classifications for inmates in the prison system.

“The external perimeter, fencing and cellular accommodation of both Northward and Fairbanks should be brought up to category C standard and more secure inner compounds introduced to hold higher risk prisoners,” said Mr. Lavis.

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Mr. Lavis
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