In the movie Shawshank Redemption, Tim Robbins’ character spent the better part of two decades painstakingly digging a tunnel concealed under a poster in his prison cell in order to escape to Mexico. When most people think of prison escapes, they think back to movies like the Shawshank Redemption and believe that escaping prison is a practically impossible task unless a prisoner is either lucky or determined.
While prisons have developed methods to help prevent prisoners from bringing in contraband that may allow them to escape and have certain protocols to follow to ensure that no prisoner could easily slip past the series of guards and reinforced doors that keep them tucked inside prison walls, technology is now bringing innovative new ways prisoners can make their way to freedom.
Jimmy Causey has escaped twice while serving out a life sentence in maximum-security prisons in South Carolina. Originally sentenced to life for kidnapping and holding his former attorney’s family at gunpoint, his first escape involved hiding inside of a trash truck along with another prisoner. A pizza delivery driver later recognized the men as the escaped convicts and both men were sent back to prison to continue serving out their sentences.
Causey’s first attempt to escape prison may have been a failure, but that didn’t stop Causey from giving it the ol’ college try once again. This time, Causey utilized technology in order to carry out his master plan.
According to South Carolina Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling, Causey had used wire cutters to break through the fencing that surrounds the prison. While using wire cutters to cut through a fence isn’t rocket science, the means in which Causey got his hands on the wire cutters is a game changer. “We believe a cell phone was used to facilitate and give this inmate the resources to escape,” Stirling told reporters. “We also potentially believe that a drone was used to help him get the contraband in to escape.”
Causey placed a paper mache dummy into his prison-issued cot to make prison officials believe that he was still in bed. No one had noticed Causey had been missing until the following day. Officers were later able to capture Causey two days later as he slept at a hotel. Causey’s escape is now bringing more attention to the problem with prisoners smuggling in cell phones.
Just last month it was reported that a grieving widow stumbled upon a man who had murdered her husband posting to Facebook from behind prison walls. Beverly Shelley has since focused her efforts on drawing attention to the problem with cell phones in prison. Now with the escape of Causey, who used a cell phone in order to facilitate his escape from prison, FCC mandates preventing prisons from blocking WiFi signals are being called into question.
It would seem that the days of spending weeks or even decades crafting a plan to escape from prison are gone. Using only a cell phone, prisoners can facilitate criminal activities on the streets, terrorize their victims’ families, and even use it to aid in their escape. Until changes are made in order to keep up with everchanging technology, prison officials will have their hands full tracking down every piece of contraband that enters inside prison walls.