Records: Arizona prison was understaffed during January escape

Asia's Tech News Daily

Eleven months after two men escaped from the state prison in Florence, the Arizona Department of Corrections says it has implemented “enhanced security measures.”

According to a press release issued Friday afternoon by the DOC, those measures included “Implementation of enhanced physical plant security countermeasures, including additional fence structures, reinforced gates, and detection systems” and “Implementation of enhanced storage system requirements.”

DOC Director David Shinn said the department “immediately began a wide-ranging, in-depth review and investigation” after prisoners John Charpiot and David Harmon escaped from the medium custody South Unit at ASPC-Florence on Jan. 23, 2021.

The department did not immediately share a copy of the investigation, but it did release staffing records to The Arizona Republic in response to a records request.

The records show the South Unit of the Florence prison was understaffed during the night shift on Jan. 23, when the prisoners escaped.

A Daily Briefing Sheet provided by the department shows there were 42 authorized corrections officers positions for the shift but only 15 staff members were scheduled to report for work. According to the document, 19 staff members were “required” for the night shift.

A staffing report provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections shows there were fewer Corrections officers working than required when two prisoners escaped in January.

The department did not respond to detailed questions regarding the staffing shortages or the changes it claims to have made in response to the escape.

Charpiot and Harmon were captured in a Coolidge cottonfield five days after their escape.

Charpiot was imprisoned in 2011 after he was convicted in Maricopa County of molestation of a child and sexual abuse and sentenced to 35 years. Harmon was imprisoned in 2012 after he was convicted in Maricopa County of kidnapping and second-degree burglary charges and sentenced to serve 100 years.

Prison officials said a preliminary investigation revealed the men breached the prison's fence line by using tools they retrieved from the prison's tool room.

Both men face additional charges related to the escape.

Have a news tip on Arizona prisons? Reach the reporter at jjenkins@arizonarepublic.com or at 812-243-5582. Follow him on Twitter @JimmyJenkins.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Records show Arizona prison was understaffed during escape

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