Prisoner's Escape Sparks Security Increase

Kemper County, Miss. Christopher Mardis isn't the first prisoner to escape the Kemper-Neshoba Regional Correctional Facility, but Sheriff James Moore says no one has ever made it far. Mardis was only gone a little over an hour before he was apprehended.

"All they do is sit around and think of ways to escape," he says. "They're going to watch you, see where you're weak at, and they're going to attack that weak area and try to escape."

The sheriff believes Mardis had likely been planning his exit strategy for some time. He started his plan by first having other inmates line the fence area while they were outside the facility, so he couldn't be seen.

Sheriff Moore says Mardis managed to raise himself onto a canopy and from there onto the roof, where he ran across and jumped off the edge of the building where there isn't any razor wire. From there, Mardis took off into the woods.

Officers warned residents of nearby neighborhoods to be on the lookout for the escapee.

"One neighbor did spot him," Sheriff Moore says. "An officer was able to get around and head him off and get him back into custody."

Sheriff Moore says the prison is already making adjustments to those weak areas that Mardis took advantage of, like structural changes and additional razor wire.

"Security issues have been looked at again," he says. "We put measures into place to ensure that that doesn't happen again. But it's going to take every officer working together to ensure that. With over 400 something inmates, you've got to be on your game."

The sheriff says he does believe that the facility is secure. Mardis is now looking at up to five extra years in prison for his escape.