Inspection Report Shows Problems At Haskell County Jail

Wednesday, April 30th 2014, 11:18 pm
By: News On 6

Records show red flags at the jail where an Oklahoma inmate escaped last week, which led to a five-day manhunt.

An inspection report shows the problems, including one that says the jail didn't have enough staff to handle the inmates coming in.

Investigators looked all over Haskell County for Edward Branch, while he hid from the law for nearly a week.

4/28/2014 Related Story: Haskell County Jail Escapee Recaptured In Sallisaw

"In the five days that he was gone, he ate turtles, walnuts, and drank creek and pond water," said Haskell County Sheriff Brian Hale.

It was Branch's second escape from the same jail. The sheriff said Branch climbed behind the pipes in the wall inside his cell and got out.

"He removed a drain and was able to get on top of the roof to the outside and then off of the wall," Hale said.

Search teams scoured neighborhoods around the jail and nearby Keota. Deputies found Branch more than 35 miles away in Sequoyah County.

Hale believes no one on the inside helped him escape.

"We have found the methods that he has used, we had some problems with the construction that had allowed that, and we have taken care of that problem we believe," Hale said.

Records show inspectors cited the Haskell County Jail for not having enough jailers and a broken surveillance camera; ten violations in all in the past three years.

Hale said those problems may have led to Branch's escape.

"I believe any of those factors can contribute to that," he said.

He said money is tight in the county and he's operating the jail the best he can.

"Our staffing, we staff to the best of our ability with what funds we are provided with," said Hale.

Branch won't have the chance to escape in Haskell County again, he's being held at a state prison three hours away.