(Versailles, Ind.) - The Ripley County Sheriff’s Office is taking a second look at security at the Ripley County Jail after two inmates recently escaped.
Stanley Short, 42, and Robert Huskey, 63, have both since been recaptured after slipping through a hole in the recreation yard fence at the jail in Versailles.
Huskey was the first to be rounded up after two Reserve Deputies followed up on a tip Monday morning.
Sheriff Tom Grills took a hands-on approach to catching Short. The sheriff and deputies went to a residence on State Road 48 owned by Short’s family about 6:45 Tuesday morning.
“We felt that Short at some point would come to the property to seek assistance and his personal belongings,” Grills said.
The hunch paid off. Grills himself discovered Short sleeping in a grass hopper a couple hundred feet south of the residence. The fugitive was taken back into custody without incident.
Grills said his office will forward charges of Escape and Criminal Mischief against Short and Huskey to the Ripley County prosecutor.
Although the escapees are again behind bars, questions linger about how they were able to get beyond the metal fencing a razor wire surrounding the jail in the first place.
Grills issued an explanation Tuesday. He said after Short and Huskey slipped through the fence hole, the duo then climbed another fence, jumped over razor wire to a canopy and then down another fence to freedom.
The recreation yard was installed at the jail in 2003. Grills said it meets requirements set by the Indiana Department of Corrections, which has rated the jail as “excellent” during each annual inspection since 2008.
“The Ripley County Jail is back to normal operation and the Sheriff is working with the Commissioners and the Indiana Department of Correction to fix the fencing that was damaged and make the recreation area more secure,” Grills said in an e-mail.
In addition to the hole created in the fence by Short and Huskey, the canopy may have aided their jailbreak. The security of the rec yard was revisited by Grills and other jail administrators after the canopy was installed to cover the entrance to the Ripley County Communications Center.
“At that time administration felt it was adequate, but we now know it was not,” Grills said, adding that the problem has been addressed.
Grills said there will be more inspections coming to determine if the jail is secure enough. Outside resources will audit the jail’s policy and procedures, possibly recommending changes.
“The jail staff responded appropriately and followed proper procedure and protocol in this incident to keep from having any further incidents in the jail. The staff should be commended on their effort. The response and operation to locate the escapees and bring them back into custody went as good as could be expected under the circumstances. I am proud of my team,” Grills said.