WKYT Investigates: Blackburn to get security upgrades

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - "The building we were just in front of in the parking lot, the far one there, that's the gymnasium, this is our chapel of course," said Warden Steve Haney, as he pointed to buildings on Blackburn's campus.

It's layout on the acres of land has changed gradually over the decades. The format for it's occupants has too.

"We give them less supervision, you obviously don't see the fences, and the barriers, and the towers and all those kinds of things," explained Haney.

Lately, some have taken advantage of that freedom, but those opportunities for escape are quickly shrinking.

Blackburn Correctional Complex will have all the materials secured for the improvements the first week of March.
The upgrades inmates can expect: steel mesh over the windows, an increase in monitored movement, more cameras, Increased lighting and security-grade doors and locks.

"We don't call it controlled movement. It's monitored movement. More so than what we've had in the past," said Haney.

Haney said the three escapes this year have been from two dorms, 4 and 5, located at the rear of the grounds and within eye sight of railroad tracks and the interstate.

"We're not going to allow them in behind these buildings at all. Even to set up a picnic table or anything else," Haney said.

To help inmates at the minimum security facility understand and follow some of the new parameters, a path of sorts will be outlined using red cables attached to red posts.

"When you're leaving that dorm and you're going to the gym, here's the route you take," said Haney as he pointed to a walkway.

And doors of opportunity for inmates to run out of the dorms, will close and lock.

"All of the doors except the front doors will be locked 24/7," said Haney.

Failure to comply with the movement guidelines, or any of the rules, old or new, will result in disciplinary action for the inmate, putting his future at Blackburn in jeopardy. A disobedient inmate would find himself possibly carrying out his remaining sentence in a more strict environment.

"There's a lot of incentive for them to want to do the right thing, and obey the rules, and do the things they need to do to be able to stay here," added Haney.

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