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Associated Press, Published January 11 2013

SD jail with history of escapes boosting security

HURON, S.D. — A county jail in eastern South Dakota with a recent history of prisoner escapes is taking steps to beef up security.

Charles Beeney, a man with a criminal history in Kansas and North Dakota, escaped from the Beadle County Jail in Huron on Tuesday by using a makeshift weapon to hold a guard hostage. He was caught later the same day.

In 2003, inmate Jason Heasley escaped by scaling a wall in a recreation area, prompting a large-scale search for the man who was considered armed and dangerous. He was later caught, but in January 2005 he escaped again, along with another inmate, by bending bars and breaking a window in their cell.

"I woke up to my alarm clock and turned on the TV and I heard Heasley escaped again," Justin Olson, a member of the sheriff's department in Minnehaha County, told KELO-TV. "I just shook my head and wondered, how can that happen again? Same place, same jail."

The two men were arrested days later in Iowa, after another large manhunt.

The jail also had an escape in 2004, when three girls in juvenile detention locked guards inside a cell and escaped. They also were later caught.

The jail recently upgraded its surveillance system and is working to boost staff, Sheriff Doug Solem said. The jail also plans more extensive background checks on incoming inmates. Beeney's criminal history in North Dakota included escaping from a county jail and making an unsuccessful attempt to escape from the State Penitentiary.

Officials want to make sure "that we're doing what we need to do for the safety of everybody," Solem said.

"You've just got to keep your heads up," he said. "Things change all the time and of course, people that we're dealing with change all the time, also."

Deputy Jim Sheridan said the jail has bars on the windows and bullet-proof glass, but added, "If somebody is determined enough, they're going to get out."


Information from: KELO-TV, http://www.keloland.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.