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Jail to make changes in light of escape

Posted: Friday, Jan 11th, 2013

HURON — Beadle County will hire more guards and run more extensive background checks on unfamiliar inmates when booked into jail in the hope of preventing future escapes from the Regional Correction Center, the sheriff said Wednesday.

Charles Leroy Beeney, 45, used a makeshift weapon of some kind and forced two jailers into releasing him at about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Eighteen hours later, he was spotted in Sioux Falls and arrested. (See related story at the left.)

In a media interview after Beeney’s sentencing hearing, Sheriff Doug Solem said the jail staff was convened for a meeting to review policies and procedures after the escape. He said the two jailers were following the policies at the time of the escape.

But he said the meeting was scheduled because he wanted to make sure the jail staff was doing what they needed to be doing to keep everyone safe from harm.

When inmates are processed into the correction center, more extensive background checks will be done, he said.

Beeney has a history of attempted and successful escapes from a county jail and the state prison in North Dakota, and Solem said he had heard of one incident.

“When he was arrested (after a lengthy chase last month that ended in Jerauld County), I was in the jail at that time and Beeney had told me he had been in the prison system for over 20 years,” Solem said.

New cameras and monitors had been installed in the last week and were in use when Beeney escaped earlier this week.

Solem was at home Tuesday evening when Sioux Falls authorities called to tell him of Beeney’s capture without incident.

The sheriff thanked the media for disseminating Beeney’s photo. As it turned out, law enforcement in Sioux Falls were tipped off by an individual at a Laundromat.

While jail policies were followed, Solem said jailers must retain a constant vigil on the inmates, especially those who have spent a long time locked up.

“Talk to anybody that’s in the jail business when they have somebody that has this much experience,” he told reporters.

“Who would think you could take a ballpoint pen and a pencil and make some kind of a stabbing instrument out of it,” he said. “You know you’ve just got to keep your heads up.”

Beeney also had some kind of homemade weapon and showed one jailer a .45-caliber bullet, threatening to kill him if he wasn’t released.

“Things change all the time and, of course, the people that we’re dealing with change all the time,” Solem said.

For the complete article see the 01-10-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-10-2013 paper.

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