“We fell short,” prisons commissioner says of escape

Philadelphia Prisons Commissioner Louis Giorla attended last night’s Upper Holmesburg Civic Association meeting to talk with residents about last month’s escape of Kevin Turner from Curran-Fromhold Correction Facility. Turner went on to rob and murder Lawncrest jeweler William Glatz nine days later. In the video below, Giorla explains how the escape took place and the precautions being taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”We fell short,” Giorla explained to the approximately 30 Upper Holmesburg residents at the meeting. “It’s very difficult to be vigilant all the time.”

Giorla is looking into preventative measures at CFCF to limit the chance of another escape. He’s meeting next month with the commission in Washington, D.C., where a microchip program has been implemented. Though the chips costs about $20 per prisoner, they’d allow prison officer to either track specific prisoners, or to know how many prisoners (and which ones) are in a certain part of the prison at any given time.

Additionally, CFCF will reinstitute its siren, which was taken down after noise complaints from neighbors. The solar-powered siren will be reconstructed, and Giorla promised to test it for Upper Holmesburg residents at an upcoming meeting.

“We’re limited in our authority of the community,” he said, but offered a 24/7 phone number to residents with questions or concerns (215-685-7958/57). A hotline will be set up shortly, which residents can call during an emergency for updates.

Giorla cited 3,500 admissions to CFCF in a given year. One escape, he said, is .4 percent. “But it’s .4 percent too many.”

Note: Last night’s Upper Holmesburg Civic Association meeting had such a busy, varied agenda that we’re splitting up our coverage. Check back with us throughout the day for more videos and information from last night’s meeting.

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