Morgan Co. Jail Lieutenant talks about attempted escapes, contraband

Attempted escapes and contraband at Morgan Co. Jail
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 7:22 PM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - At the end of July, two men facing capital murder charges tried to break out of the Morgan County Jail. Two weeks later, two other men, in on less serious charges, were caught trying to escape using a rope made of bedsheets.

Morgan County Jail Lieutenant Richard Moats has worked at the jail for 12 years and says that these recent escape attempts aren’t like previous inmates.

“The generation of inmates we’re dealing with now has a different mentality they’re very blatant very, I guess, bold in the way they try to do things,” Lt. Moats said. “Escape attempts, they’re not as common as you think they might be. These two coming back to back is a rather rare occurrence usually in jails you don’t see things like that happen.”

Lt. Moats says he has only seen a handful of escape attempts during his time at the jail and both of the recent attempts were quickly stopped.

On top of stopping escape attempts, correctional officers are also trying to stop contraband, such as drugs, from getting into the jail. Lt. Moats says that changes to security measures for visitors had to be made after an inmate was sent to the ICU from an overdose last week.

“We don’t allow letters to come into the jail,” Lt. Moats said. “We scan mail in to keep inmates from being able to put liquid narcotics on paper. Our legal mail process we’ve had to change it. We have had to change the way visitors interact. Even when they come in the building we scan their property, we scan their bags to make sure there is nothing contraband wise in it.”

Lt. Moats says that aside from the jail’s full body scanners, which are used to detect drugs, the officers will have to find a way to stop contraband.

“We have to beef up our procedures and keep learning and keep training and try and find ways to stop it from coming in,” Lt. Moats said.

Even with strong security and procedure updates, Lt. Moats believes inmates will find a way to get drugs in the jail.