Prison Security in Natural Disasters

What happens in prisons when the electricity goes out? Do the doors automatically open or lock tightly? History reveals that prisoners will be locked in pretty much regardless of the disaster causing the power outage.

Some prisons loose power regularly so prisoners are used to sitting in the dark at random odd times. And prison guards have to wonder what would happen if the power went down and the back-up generators ran out of fuel . . or an EMP strike . .

There is a prison that has inmates generating electricity and that sure would keep things running!!

And in hurricanes? Doors are locked and prisoners sit in their cells waiting and wondering as water rises around them.

Now you may say this seems unfair to the inmates . . locking them in their cells to ride out a disaster as best they can seems extreme . .

But . .

There is the alternative of trying to move all the inmates, their records and meds one bus load at a time to an alternative prison. In a disaster scenario the time and manpower for this may simply be impossible.

What about unlocking the prison and turning them loose on the community?

Well, that is another option . . and, if you live near a prison . .

What are your feelings on dealing with a disaster and prison inmates released en mass?

Don’t live near a prison? Well, you might opt to not worry whether those cells stay locked or not . .

But . .

Many prisoners will head back to their hometown upon release . . that could put them right in your backyard during a disaster!

What are your thoughts? Why do these seem to be the only options?

{Having lived walking distance to Stateville in Illinois and now the Toledo Correctional Center, this is a question always floating in the back of my mind}

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