A local jail in Fulton County, Georgia, is running a contest for inmates that encourages them to pick the locks on their jail cells.
If an inmate is able to break free by picking the lock to their cell, they will be given food and hygiene items for free from the commissary, items that are used as a form of currency inside the prison.
The point of the contest is to try out new locks that were installed at the prison to see if they will keep the inmates in. They plan to put the worst offenders in the cells and let them go to it to see if they can get out.
The Fulton County jail has had problems with their locks on a regular basis ever since the building was opened over twenty three years ago. The inmates have easily been able to pop open the internal door locks and to get to the common areas or reach other prisoners inside their cells. This put both inmates and staff in danger. The general public was never in danger, though, since there are many other obstacles in the prisoner’s way to get out of the jail itself.
Though the contest is quite unconventional, it seems to be a good one. Why not use inmates to try to pick the locks the same way the FBI and local bankers use bank robbers to help make the banks better? It’s the same idea.
Several years ago, the company that was responsible for making locks for the prison went out of business. The parts needed for the locks are no longer available because of that. The Sheriff has asked for around six million dollars to replace the locks that are not working well, and is waiting for a decision on that to be made by the Fulton County Commission. While they wait, though, some new locks that were designed specifically for the Fulton jail have been put in one zone on nine doors and will be tested by the inmates.
There have been quite a few companies that have put in bids to replace the locks on the jail cells, but a company out of Alabama has the bid right now. Their locks are the ones the inmates will be testing. Hopefully, the test will allow the jail to determine what needs to be changed to help keep everyone safe.