SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) --After three inmates escaped from the maximum-security Central Men's Jail jail in Santa Ana earlier this year, officials will be making improvements to the facility to prevent another similar incident.
Authorities spent $570,000 from the Orange County Sheriff Department's existing budget to add more security to the jail. In January, Hossein Nayeri, 37, Jonathan Tieu, 20, and Bac Duong, 43, escaped from the prison after a final evening count and were not discovered missing until 15 hours later.
Investigators discovered the inmates used tools to escape through the plumbing tunnels to the roof where they used tied-up bed sheets to repel 50 feet down the side of the building.
A manhunt for the men lasted eight days before all three were eventually taken back into custody.
To prevent similar situations, more external lights have been placed on the roof and walls, metal grates and vents have been reinforced with steel in the plumbing tunnels and roofs and motion-sensor cameras were installed in the tunnels.
Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said the cameras will emit a sound inside the guard station when any movement is detected. Inmates will also be given wristbands and badges with chips embedded in them to better track them.
Hutchens said there are also plans to install more and better cameras to the jail's roof.
Authorities still do not know the tools the inmates are suspected of using to escape or how they got them. Two investigations, including an internal one, remain underway to find out how the suspects received the tools.
New procedures will be put in place to keep track of tools used by contractors, and deputies have been re-briefed on counting inmates more consistently.
The union representing the deputies, which filed a lawsuit against the department after the escape, said it supports any efforts to improve jail safety and security.
But the union also said serious safety issues have not been corrected yet and issued the following statement:
"We support any efforts by the Sheriff's Department to improve the safety and security of our jails for the inmates, our deputies, and the public. Unfortunately the very serious safety issues we raised in the lawsuit we filed have yet to be corrected. Significant recruiting challenges have created dangerously low staffing levels in the jails. Deputies are being forced to work mandatory overtime in the jails and patrol overtime shifts in our contract cities are often left vacant. We hope the sheriff will address this immediately."
Authorities said they could not comment because of pending litigation.