Complicity, negligence in prison escape

The good news is that inmates don't escape often from the prisons in Carson City. The bad news is that a serious lapse allowed it to happen so easily last week.

Nevada State Prison and Northern Nevada Correctional Center are facts of life in the capital, and sometimes we take them for granted as just another branch of state government operating in town.

That serious and sometimes hazardous duty is performed there without much notice by the outside world is a testament to generally well-operated and secure management.

It takes only one slip, though, to shake the confidence of the public. When 24-year-old Jody Thompson, a potentially dangerous criminal, was able to ride out of NNCC in the back of a Prison Industries truck, it implied complicity or negligence - or both.

We have confidence Warden Don Helling, Prisons Director Jackie Crawford and Prison Industries Director Howard Skolnik will get to the truth of the matter. And appropriate action will be taken.

We trust also that Helling, Crawford and Skolnik will make clear to the community of Carson City exactly what steps they are taking to prevent a reoccurrence.

Any self-respecting prisoner isn't going to stick around Carson City very long, one would imagine, but there is always a threat that someone desperate enough to escape is desperate enough to harm someone in the process. Residents here shouldn't feel unsafe.

Of more concern, in many ways, is the allegation a prison employee, a dental technician, may have helped the escape by providing a cell phone.

Even the best of security systems is vulnerable to human weaknesses. The smuggling of phones, weapons, drugs or any other contraband into the prison is a reckless thing to do. Here's our prediction: Thompson will be back in prison soon, and so will his accomplices.


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