Despite a prison escape by two Texas inmates last week that resulted in the death of a guard, the Texas prison system is one of the nation’s most secure, says the Houston Chronicle. The guard was killed when she was knocked off her horse after two men bolted from the work fields and stole a nearby truck. They were captured.
Many states with large prison populations measure annual escapes in the hundreds. Last year in Texas, there were two, the same as in 2005. The five-year total is only 14. “Prisons are stronger and better designed, with lots of bells and whistles, and there is more security,” said Terry Pelz, a corrections and criminal justice consultant who spent a decade as assistant warden at three Texas units. “And there’s no honor among criminals anymore. You hatch a plot today and somebody is going to snitch you off.” Of those who have fled Texas prisons, only one remains a fugitive; he is believed to be in Mexico. “The public always seems to be fascinated with crime, no matter what the nature of the crime or the criminal, and people escaping from the custody of the state are sort of the ultimate criminal, the ultimate renegade, the rebellious spirit,” said criminologist Dennis Longmire of Sam Houston State University.