March 13, 2012

County inmate sneaks out of cell for jail tryst

Corrections officials make changes to prevent further security breaches.

Sheriff Kevin Joyce diagrams the maximum-security cellblocks where Arien L'Italien is alleged to have escaped from his cell and had sex with a female inmate and then was caught trying to get back to his cell.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Arien L’Italien crawled across the landing between the maximum-security cellblock, at right, and a women’s cellblock, left, where he is accused of having sex with Karla Wilson.

David Hench/Staff Writer

click image to enlarge

Arien L'Italien and Karla Wilson

There is little concern that L'Italien might have escaped. There are several doors between the unit and the outside, and they can be opened only by officers in the master control room of the jail.

In the maximum-security pod, inmates are allowed out of their cells just four hours a day.

Each bank of cells opens onto a day room, which is separated from the landings and stairwells by another locked door.

Most of the time, there are four locked doors between a person in one cellblock and someone elsewhere in the pod.

However, the staff at the 18-year-old jail had left the day room doors ajar at night because the locking mechanism, opening and shutting, is very loud.

Joyce said he has changed that policy so that the day room doors are locked, and get unlocked each 15 minutes when corrections officers make their rounds to check on inmates.

Joyce said L'Italien also took advantage of the officers' routine of visually inspecting cells every 15 minutes.

That gave him time to sneak from his cell to Wilson's before an officer returned -- after stuffing his bunk so it would appear he was there.

Joyce said officers will be instructed now to break up their routines.

Each cell room is illuminated at night by a sort of night light. L'Italien hid in Wilson's room by climbing under her bed when they heard an officer coming upstairs, and letting her sheet drape off the mattress, Gagnon said.

L'Italien has been moved to the "supermax" section of the jail, away from all other inmates. Wilson is now segregated in the jail's intake unit.

Joyce said they're unlikely to face new criminal charges, because the incident does not appear to meet the definition of escape.

Both are pre-trial detainees who have not been convicted or sentenced.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: dhench@pressherald.com

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