The Pocopson Township prison in Chester County, Pennsylvania, will implement a series of security improvements after convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante escaped by crab-walking up a wall.
The county’s prison board on Wednesday unanimously approved a multi-million dollar project to fully enclose the exercise yards at the prison with solid walls and a roof, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The project is estimated to cost $2.5 million to 3.5 million and may take as long as nine months to complete.
TransSystems, a Kansas City-based engineering and design company hired to redesign the jail’s exercise yards, said the new enclosures would be a “permanent solution” to the security flaws Cavalcante exploited in his Aug. 31 escape, according to the Inquirer.
Previously, the prison placed additional razor wire and mesh panels to cover the gap that Cavalcante used to access the rooftop after scaling a wall. Acting Warden Howard Holland has made numerous other suggestions to upgrade security, including placing at least 50 new cameras in the prison and hiring eight additional correction officers. Some of those new hires would monitor the security footage day and night.
The prison board voted to approve both Holland’s suggestions, the Inquirer reported.
The approved redesign plan calls for fully enclosed exercise yards with 18-foot solid high masonry walls to replace fencing and the removal of shed roofs that could be scaled by inmates.
TransSystems’ plan will also remove basketball hoops and add an LED light system that “can mimic natural daylight,” the company said, per the Inquirer. The approved enclosure would block the flow of sunlight into the yard from overhead except for a small set of windows at the top of the walls, which are guarded by secure screening.
The design would both prevent future escape attempts and prevent contraband from entering the facility by drone or other remote device, said Brad Endler, TranSystems vice president of architecture and engineering.
The project will be funded with federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan, Commissioner Josh Maxwell told the Inquirer.
Cavalcante escaped from the Chester County prison on Aug. 31. Police scoured the county for two weeks in a massive effort involving more than 500 law enforcement officers from the state until the fugitive was captured alive on Sept. 13.
The manhunt forced several school districts to close for multiple days as residents remained on edge.
Officials released video of Cavalcante’s escape, showing the convicted killer crab-walking up a wall. Officials say he then pushed through razor wire, ran across the roof, scaled another fence and pushed through more razor wire before leaving the prison.
The corrections officer on duty in the watchtower at the time of Cavalcante’s escape was fired.
Cavalcante was awaiting transfer to a state prison to serve a life sentence for fatally stabbing an ex-girlfriend 38 times in front of her children in 2021. He was also wanted for killing a man in Brazil in 2017 over a debt the victim owed him for repairing a vehicle. He was allegedly in the U.S. illegally.
Fox News’ Stephen Sorace contributed to this report.