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Now Sheriff Levon Allen is putting new security measures in place in hopes of preventing this from happening again.

Article Source: 11ALIVE

Article Link: https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/inmate-gets-stuck-in-wall-breaking-lock-crawling-through-hvac-system-clayton-county-jail/85-d63f0a04-8a25-44d0-a7cd-d124d586da55

JONESBORO, Ga. — It all started with screaming after a Clayton County inmate got stuck inside a jail wall. Sheriff Levon Allen said the man tried to escape through the HVAC system.

Now, the sheriff is putting new security measures in place in hopes of preventing this from happening again.

What happened inside the walls of the Clayton County Jail even took Sheriff Allen by surprise. 

“This is just unbelievable,” Allen said. “That young man did something that nobody has done in 24 years.”

A security guard and deputy were confused by what they heard.

“They heard some banging, and they didn’t know if it was just an inmate banging on the window because they saw them. Then, of course, they started hearing screams for help,” Allen said.

Allen said the attempted escape started when the inmate busted a 24-year-old lock.

“Once you get into this door, you can get into the actual wall and plumbing chase of the building. This is where they were able to climb in, climb through, and channel out to the other side,” Allen said. 

The inmate made it all the way to where the HVAC system goes to the outside of the jail. 

“Had he gotten out of the HVAC system, he would have been in our yard, and the only thing that would have kept him in our yard would be the single fence that we have up.

Sheriff Allen is planning on putting new locks on plumbing chase doors to make it harder for inmates to use objects like shanks to pry them open. He’s also putting another improvement in place to make it harder for inmates to escape.

“Now we need to make new security measures to where we place a cage or a grate on the outside of the HVAC system,” Allen said.

Allen said he takes the attempted escape seriously and wants to keep the public safe.

“I have 1,900 inmates in this jail,” Allen said. “I have over 400 that are here for murder, so of course, we don’t want one of those inmates to get out and be in the community.”

Allen will ask for $300,000 in funding to replace locks in the entire jail in hopes of preventing more inmates from trying to make a bold escape.

“It’s not uncommon to do this. We just need to learn from it and adapt and change it,” Allen said. 

The sheriff previously asked Clayton County Commissioners for $14 million to improve safety, overcrowding and deteriorating jail conditions.