Texas politicians are demanding an independent investigation of prison security as new details emerged about how a convicted child molester escaped using a loaded pistol smuggled into one of the state’s highest-security lockups, reports the Austin American-Statesman. “Why are our courthouses and airports more secure than our prisons,” asked a Houston state senator. Prison officials have promised for more than a year to tighten security at Texas’ 112 state-run prisons.
Arcade Joseph Comeaux Jr., 49, escaped from a prison van in Baytown on Nov. 30 while he was being transferred from the Estelle High-Security Unit near Huntsville to the Stiles Unit in Beaumont. The Estelle Unit has new metal detectors. However, officials said Comeaux was not searched as he left the prison and was put into the van. Comeaux pulled the gun on two guards who were escorting him in the front seat of the van as it approached Conroe. Comeaux was shackled and handcuffed in the back of the van, in a wheelchair.