Nowata County Jail Upgrading Security After Inmates Dig Through Wall
NOWATA COUNTY, Oklahoma - Two inmates dug a hole through a wall in the Nowata County Jail and may have had sex.
It's not the first time an inmate has dug a hole through a wall in the 105-year-old Nowata County Jail.
Nowata County Sheriff Richard Miller said the incident has opened his eyes to what inmates are capable of and he's making some changes to prevent it from happening again.
Miller said two inmates - a man and a woman - broke through a cinder block wall and may have had sex.
The female inmate went to the hospital to get checked out and Miller is waiting to confirm if they actually had sex.
"This is a wake-up call," Miller said.
Detention staff discovered the hole during a shift change the morning of January 17, 2017, the same day the county jail inspection was supposed to take place.
"We found an old bed spring, where they'd used it to actually dig with," Miller said.
He said the inmates dug through mortar between cinder blocks, which weren't filled with concrete.
"The hole, when it was actually breached through the wall, was down below," he said. "There's two bunks and they were side-by-side and they dug under.
And that blocked the view of what was going on."
This isn't the first time someone has dug a hole in the jail.
Miller recalls an incident about 20 years ago before he worked there.
"It was an incident where they actually broke through the wall. And actually, a jailer was just about beat to death on an escape attempt," he said.
Even though he doesn't expect this to happen again anytime soon, he said it's time to ramp up security.
"The other walls seem to be in relatively good shape," Miller said.
He said the jail is adding seven cameras to the 16 they already have.
Miller said a cement contractor repaired the wall but he wants to take it one step further.
"We're actually gonna line the wall with steel," he said.
He said he's also urging his detention staff to be more alert.
The district attorney will decide if the two inmates will be charged with destruction of government property.
The DA's office said it had 'no comment' when asked if the two inmates could be charged for having sex in the jail.