Seven high-security federal prisons will be getting fences that can kill prisoners who touch them, says the Associated Press. It is a $10 million project intended to allow prisons to operate with fewer perimeter guards. The project was reported in Crime & Justice News last week in connection with the Lewisburg, Pa., federal prison, which has no funds for such a fence so far.
The 12-foot-high “stun-lethal” fences can be set to deliver electrical shocks to prisoners who touch them once and fatal shocks if they are touched a second time. Judy Freyermuth of the Federal Prison Policy Project, a nonprofit prison reform advocacy group in Atlanta, predicted that the hoped-for savings will not materialize. She fears the fences will cause accidental injuries. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons plans to install the fences at prisons in Terre Haute, Ind.; Pine Knot, Ky.; Pollock, La.; Tucson; Hazelton, W.Va.; and two prisons in Coleman, Fla. The Arizona Department of Corrections has had no problems with an 8,000-volt stun-lethal fence it installed around the maximum security section of its Florence prison last summer.