This is a tour of the prison Danelo Cavalcante was sent to on September 13, 2023 after his self-guided tour of Longwood Gardens and the Pennsylvania countryside came to an abrupt end. SCI Phoenix previously housed former convict Bill Cosby, who served nearly three years there.
Lt. Walter Grunder, part of the transition team, gives a tour of Pennsylvania’s $400 million State Correctional Institution Phoenix, in Skippack Township, Montgomery County. SCI Phoenix replaced SCI Graterford 2018. It is built to house around 3,500 inmates. (Video by Dan Gleiter/PennLive)
The fundamental problem exposed by Danelo Cavalcante’s viral prison break
America has low expectations for correctional facilities. And the corrections system is fine with that.
By Danny Cevallos, legal analyst | Sept. 13, 2023
MSNBC – On Wednesday, Pennsylvania police announced that murderer Danelo Cavalcante has been captured close to two weeks after he escaped from Chester County Prison. The press conference capped a massive interagency manhunt; the 34-year-old was ultimately spotted using aerial thermal heat technology.
Massive interest in the escape was fueled by prison footage of the moment the fugitive crab-walked up between two brick walls. Cavalcante then climbed over razor wire, ran across the roof and leaped to the ground outside the walls. It wasn’t until prison guards took a headcount that he was discovered missing.
Obviously, the escape raises a lot of questions about Chester County Prison. For example, if the escape was captured on video, why wasn’t anyone watching the video?
Then, it turns out, Cavalcante’s escape wasn’t even as spectacular as we originally thought. Because it’s happened before. According to Howard Holland, acting warden of the prison, inmate Igor Vidra Bolte escaped from the same prison in May by climbing a wall in an exercise yard to get to the roof.
So Cavalcante wasn’t even the first inmate to do this; he was just following another inmate’s similar route and strategy. This revelation raises further questions about the facility and why there appears to be an escapee playbook.
As someone who has practiced criminal defense law in the Philadelphia area, and who has had to deal with state correctional facilities, as well as their federal counterpart, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), I can tell you now what the prison’s answers to these questions will be.
Because when things go wrong at a prison, officials generally recycle the same excuses over and over: We are underfunded. We are understaffed. We are overcrowded.
I can tell you now what the prison’s answers to these questions will be.
And whatever investigation follows in Chester County will probably yield some version of that excuse. Some people will get fired (a guard in one of the towers has already lost his job). Maybe someone more important will step down in disgrace. But everyone else will just go back to whatever they were doing … READ MORE.