SPOKANE, Wash. - Frustrated by an escape and recapture of two inmates from the Geiger Corrections Center Tuesday night in Airway Heights, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich spoke out about the facility to KHQ, calling it inadequate to house inmates.
KHQ was on the scene moments after law enforcement officials took inmates Rachel Banks and Kathleen Stockton back into custody for escaping from the facility. Officials said the pair broke out a window and then scaled the correction center's fence.
The top of the fence has razor wire around it so the two put a blanket over the wire to protect themselves but Knezovich said it didn't do much good since both women suffered serious cuts, some which were life-threatening. In addition to the cuts, Rachel Banks broke her ankle during the escape.
That escape brought to light ongoing problems with the Geiger Correction Center, problems which law enforcement officials said are dangerous and difficult to prevent.
Sheriff Knezovich said that while Geiger Corrections Center only houses low level inmates, he said the building is a military barracks and not designed to be a jail. Therefore, he said this incident is "another illustration of the problems associated with housing inmates in a facility that isn't designed for that purpose.
Temporary security measures were put in place immediately following the incident. Plus, Knezovich said facility administrators will be considering options for more permanent measures. He said the only real fix is to build a replacement facility.
For now, the Spokane County Board of County Commissioners continue to iron out the details and site selection for a replacement facility before bringing the issue before the public in a ballot measure.
"While no one enjoys proposing a new detention facility, and the public certainly does not enjoy paying for them, the problem of overcrowding and the use of substandard facilities still exist," Sheriff's officials wrote in a press release Wednesday.
Stockton had been in jail on drug charges and Banks on burglary charges. After a brief hospital stay, both are now in the Spokane County jail facing new charges of first degree escape. During the investigation and capture of the escapees, deputies determined Troy A. Scheiber, 43 and Judith A. Scheiber, 46 attempted to help Banks and Stockton escape[e.
Deputies believe the Scheibers provided clothing and planed to give Stockton and Banks a ride out of the area. They were arrested and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Rendering Criminal Assistance 2nd Degree.