Security breach proving costly at Cape Girardeau County jail

Security breach proving costly at Cape Girardeau County jail
By: CJ Cassidy

JACKSON, Mo. - A costly security breach at the Cape Girardeau County jail. That's where two male federal inmates managed to sneak into the female cell block Monday.

The inmates managed to get into the female cell block through a hallway that is tucked away on the second story of the building but the Sheriff says they couldn't have made it out unseen.

The problem now, isn't about anyone breaking out - it's about the money that isn't coming in. Ever since the remodeled Cape Girardeau County Jail opened for business six years ago, administrators counted on cashing in from housing federal inmates. Since Monday's security breach, the US Marshals pulled out 19 of 29 federal inmates at the jail - with no word on when and if they'll return. "That's how we pay for this facility. that's how we set this thing up. $50.82 a day per inmate will be lost while those 19 are out of there," Jordan says.

With almost a $1000 a day at stake, Sheriff John Jordan says he and his staff want to make sure it never happens again. "It was very simple, the way the system was defeated that's why we're disturbed by it," Jordan says.

The Sheriff says the two inmates that got out used dimly lit hallways to their advantage to get past security cameras, and a simple ruse to sneak past the security monitoring the hallways to then get into the female cellblock.

As for the motive - Sheriff Jordan calls it a lover's rendezvous; one of the male inmates apparently had a girlfriend in the female cell block, and the other inmate just went along for a chat. "Some people made light of it saying hey do you allow conjugal visits over there now? Absolutely not. The jokes are fine, yes there was human error on our jail staff's part. Our problem is what if this wasn't simply to get with a girlfriend? what if this was to stick a shank in some body's heart?" Jordan asks.

US Marshals agree, saying there's always a chance they'll bring back most of the detainees they took away - once they know there's no problem keeping inmates under close watch.
The Cape Girardeau County Jail houses more than 140 inmates, the sheriff says this is the first security breach of it's kind.