Jailbreak highlights bigger problem at Henry County jail

29-year-old David Kline was found in a motel one day after he escaped from the Henry County jail in New Castle sometime Sunday night.

Henry County, Ind.

An inmate is back in custody after a jailbreak this week, but the Sheriff in charge of keeping him locked up fears it could happen again.

29-year-old David Kline was found in a motel one day after he escaped from the Henry County jail in New Castle sometime Sunday night.

Sheriff Butch Baker believes Kline slipped through a hole in the jail roof.

"All that area right there, which is fresh concrete, that's the size a hole he came out of," he showed Fox 59 while standing on top of the roof.

About a week ago, he explained, jail officers discovered two holes in the jail roof. He said a few inmates first pulled a piece of metal off the ceiling and then broke through the concrete using a metal pipe ripped from the plumbing inside a cell. The pipe was wrapped in fabric from an inmate's uniform and a screw was smashed onto the end of it.

The cells were immediately closed off while maintenance workers repaired the holes, but sometime Sunday night, a 100 lb Kline snuck into one of the cells with the pipe and dug the hole wide enough to fit through.

Baker believes once on the roof, Kline jumped onto a nearby shed in the front lawn and escaped.

While Kline is back in custody, Baker fears another jailbreak.

He said the old jail is in poor shape, which makes it easy for inmates to defeat security measures. However, his biggest concern is the shortage of officers.

At any given shift, there are only two officers watching 122 inmates. One officers stays in the control room, while the other walks the floor.

"It's not safe for the inmates and it's not safe for the staff," said Baker.

He recently ran out of federal funding that helped pay for extra officers. He's asked County leaders for more money to hire six part time officers in hopes of avoiding any future problems.

"If we can make those more routine patrols throughout the jail cells, that might've, we might've even detected it or caught it in process," said Baker.

Fox 59 contacted the Henry County Council and was told they are sympathetic to Baker's concerns, but they have tabled his proposal to the beginning of 2013.

Baker said he understands that nearly every community is battling tight budgets these days, but if what Kline accomplished this week is any indication, he fears what might happen if nothing changes.

"If staffing doesn't change, then we will be obligated to continue to carry on as we have," said Baker. "And we'll continue to have the same problems and issues that we've had."

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