I’d love to hear your thoughts on this news story from ABC15 in Arizona, about the fire and safety concerns associated with installing padlocks on prison cell doors.  Because of broken or missing security devices on the cells, and the danger this presented to prison guards and other inmates, up to 1,000 padlocks are planned to be installed as a “temporary measure.”

“I think it’s a desperation move. I think they want to show they are doing something,” said Donna Leone Hamm, director of Middleground Prison Reform. “But it’s a cockamamie idea on any level. It has a Rube Goldberg mentality to it. It’s just so dangerous. How could they ever ever justify in an emergency evacuating 100 or 300 inmates in a very quick amount of time by unlocking individual padlocks? It’s a no-brainer that it is a blueprint for disaster.”

This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that code requirements for egress (even in prisons) will be ignored in favor of security.  This is a pretty extreme example, but not unlike what we are seeing in other types of facilities.  In the rush to add security, safety is sometimes overlooked.

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