The Student News Site of Delaware Valley Regional High School

The Delphi

The Student News Site of Delaware Valley Regional High School

The Delphi

The Student News Site of Delaware Valley Regional High School

The Delphi

Polls

What holiday tradition do you celebrate?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Recent Sports Scores

Are prisons actually secure?

Editor+Abbey+Bivona+considers+the+implications+that+a+recent+prison+escape+poses+on+the+prison+system.
Abbey Bivona
Editor Abbey Bivona considers the implications that a recent prison escape poses on the prison system.

A Pennsylvanian prisoner, Danilo Cavalcante, recently escaped from Chester County Prison on Aug. 31, 2023. 

Cavalcante escaped the prison by “crab walking” up the brick walls in the prison courtyard. Without a stationary guard nearby, Cavalcante was able to swiftly escape and hide out in the woods for two weeks before he was eventually caught. It took prison officials an hour before realizing he had escaped.

Cavalcante had committed two murders in his time, one of which occurred in Brazil, which he decided to flee for America to hide out, eventually murdering his next victim. He was convicted for first-degree murder and was sentenced to life behind bars.

Cavalcante was only in prison for two weeks before he made his escape. As Cavalcante was on the loose, he began to gain possession of items like a vehicle and food by stealing them from residents in the surrounding area. One of the items he gained possession of was a rifle. 

This escaped prisoner caused schools and businesses to close, and the longer he was out of prison, the more dangerous he was to citizens. Eventually, in two weeks since his escape he was caught and brought back behind bars.

Two days after Cavalcante’s escape, nine teenagers broke out of the Abraxas Academy Juvenile Detention Center in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, not far from the Chester County prison where Cavalcante escaped from. The teenagers were captured shortly after, but their escape had also caused schools to shut down for safety reasons. 

So what’s with all these prisoners escaping? And how are they escaping from somewhere where it’s specifically designed for no one to get out? 

Cavalcante’s escape was the fifth Pennsylvania jailbreak in 2023 alone. In the past five years, over 1,100 escapes were documented within 26 U.S. states. These recent prison escapes and numbers have raised concerns about security in prisons and the safety of the community around them. 

Luckily, most of these escapes have been criminals who aren’t violent. Unlike Cavalcante’s, those criminal escapes are very rare. However, these prison escapes shouldn’t be this common. 

In an article from cbsnews.com, Bryce Peterson, a senior research scientist at The Center for Justice Research and Innovation, spoke about how escapes are happening every single day, not just the kinds that are as highly dangerous as Cavalcante’s escape. 

”I never knew that prison escapes happen this often,” said junior Amy DeStefano. “I always assumed that prisons have some of the best security in the country because they hold some of the most dangerous criminals. I guess I was wrong though considering how often escapes occur.”

Believe it or not, it’s not the security in prisons that’s struggling; it’s finding people to work in them. There’s been a significant staffing issue amongst prisons in the U.S. Lots of agencies at prisons are lacking staff members. It’s hard for them to find people who are willing to work at a job such as being a prison guard, but it’s even more difficult to have them stay, especially considering how little pay they receive. With a small number of guards patrolling the prisons, it makes it easy for prisoners to escape.

”I think the Danilo escape opened my eyes to prisons and how they’re really suffering because of this lack in staff members,” said sophomore Maggie Davis. “I saw the escape as a wake up call for people in the U.S., but especially more so in the Northeast, to fix how their prisons are run.”

The conditions in prisons have been declining over the years. In an interview with Cashews, Shane Fausey, the national President of the Council of Prison Locals, spoke about the prison conditions and explained how the overall morale of working in prisons is decreasing  because of the environmental conditions are decreasing.

“As the staffing members have declined over the last decade, we’ve seen an exponential increase in prison violence,” said Fausey.

With horrible working conditions in prisons, it’s been noted that prisons need reform. By eliminating forced and unpaid work, improving working conditions, and increasing pay, working conditions should be improved. But ultimately the best way to help change the conditions for the better is to speak to workers in prisons themselves and to get their opinions on what should be changed.

With a change in how prisons are run, fewer prison escapes should be occurring. These events have started to draw more attention towards prisons, and therefore help to fix the problems in prisons and decrease the prison escapes.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Delphi
$110
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Delaware Valley Regional High School. Your contribution will allow us to attend conventions, purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Delphi
$110
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Delphi Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *