STANFORD — A Lincoln County Jail prisoner has been indicted for attempting to dig his way through a shower wall and escape.
Andrew Scott Conner of Stanford has been charged with second-degree attempted escape for "digging a hole through the outside wall of the detention center" and first-degree criminal mischief doing more than $1,000 of damage to the jail.
Conner was originally arrested May 28 and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine after police found meth labs at his residence. He is currently being held on a $50,000 cash bond.
Lincoln County Jailer David Gooch said Conner attempted to dig through a wall with a piece of a shelf.
"He appeared to have taken apart the shelf that holds the television that was bolted to the wall," Gooch said.
Staff were able to detect Conner's escape attempt before he got out, but not before he did substantial damage. Because it cost more than $1,000 to fix the damage, Conner's criminal mischief charge is a felony, Gooch added.
Conner has been moved to another location in the jail and jail staff have fabricated a steel cover and bolted it into place on the damaged wall.
Gooch said while Conner is criminally responsible for his actions, the escape attempt demonstrates the definite need for a new jail.
The current facility housing the Lincoln County Jail was never designed to be a jail and doesn't provide staff with adequate sight lines, he said.
"You could not see into that shower or even notice that someone was spending an abnormal amount of time in the shower without actually entering the cell, and that's a problem," Gooch said. "It's just another example of us fighting the design of the facility. We do not have the lines of sight to detect these things before they're happening or right after they start happening."
Gooch said he's looking into adding more surveillance cameras to aid in detecting bad behavior, but that won't be a perfect solution.
Gooch said he believes the current jail facility will eventually have to be closed because of its age and other issues that prevent it functioning as well as modern jail structures.
When that time comes, he would like to see a transition plan already in place to move into a new jail. But there currently is no movement in the county on that front, he said.
"I believe a new jail would cost less that what we have now, be much safer and possibly even solvent depending on if we can house federal inmates," he said. "I really feel like the writing is on the wall."