Rader Center officials want more money for security and other related issues

Wednesday, March 16th 2005, 10:58 am
By: News On 6

The warden at the Lloyd Rader Center in Sand Springs says the cost of security - can be measured in escapes that should have been prevented.

Two inmates escaped Sunday by scaling a fence. The warden wants a new fence - and more staff to keep inmates in.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says Jimmie Martin, the warden at Rader says they are understaffed and under equipped to handle the kind of teenagers who live there.

While they are the worst of the worst - they have to be treated like children, who can't even be paddled if they get in trouble. In fact, one problem at Rader, according to the warden, is the fence. It doesn't have barbed wire because that might hurt an inmate who is trying to escape.

It’s lunchtime at the Rader Center on state Highway 51. The teenaged boys are all inmates, averaging 17 years old - and in one section of medium security - they're all sex offenders.

Warden Jimmie Martin says those boys wouldn't be here if they weren't dangerous - and the staff gets constant reminders. The Rader Center has 170 inmates, the worst young criminals in Oklahoma. They're expected to go to classes, to behave, and to not try to get out. If they do - there might not be much the staff can do to stop them. And if the staff can't stop them - without any more force than a powerful hug - the fence around Rader won't stop them either.

Over the years, the inmates at Rader have gotten older and their crimes are typically more serious. That's why the warden says it's not practical to have just a tall chain link fence - when you're trying to keep murderers inside. “I hope the legislature listens and the people in Sand Springs listen, they don't like to hear when we've got some escaped juveniles out here."

7 inmates have escaped in the last six months. All were found but considering this is maximum security - the warden thinks a good fence is something that ought to be considered essential.

The inmates attend classes each day - and recently 26 of them graduated from high school.