A New York prison inmate was allowed to be a prison locksmith for a whole year

The guards in an Auburn jail reportedly assigned the task of daily lock repairs to a convicted murderer within its walls for an entire year. The criminal, who was sentenced to life in prison without parole for murdering his parents in 1996, revealed that he’d taken over the job of the jail’s retired locksmith in 2014.

This comes as a shock to many, considering that prisoners aren’t supposed to have any knowledge of the way the locks function for obvious reasons. In a 2015 disciplinary hearing, the inmate tasked with fixing the locks described his experiences. A jail employee who testified at the hearing worked in the jail’s lockshop and confirmed the inmate’s claim.

The prison would have the inmate repair several locks per day for a period of three days. For the next three days, the inmate went about his business as usual. When those three off-days were up, he would be put back to work. This went on for approximately one year, at which point the inmate was found guilty of planning his escape from the jail.

New lock parts had to be constructed on prison property due to the mere age of the locks being repaired. Another inmate claimed to have seen his fellow prisoner fixing the locks around the jail, explaining that the makeshift locksmith boasted about the ability to create a skeleton key and break out of the facility.

 In 2014, the onlooker was disciplined for harbouring three security bits in his cell that the locksmith prisoner made in the jail’s workshop. The more trustworthy inmate agreed to keep them safe in hopes that they’d stay hidden from the security guards. If he’d used them, he could have loosened the prison’s security screws and deconstructed its locks.

Although the evidence seems to point towards the prison’s officials being guilty of giving too much information to an inmate, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision is still looking into the case. This investigation will remain open until they say otherwise.

The locksmith inmate created two replica keys that matched the locks on the jail’s dropboxes. These dropboxes are used as safe storage places for keys when a major disruption occurs at the prison. He hid one of these keys in a deep oil vat that was kept in the facility’s workshop, while the other was concealed in the hot plate the inmates used to warm up their food. He planned to grab one of the replicas during an emergency situation, open a dropbox, and grab the guard keys to escape.

Although he could be punished for speaking aloud, this inmate felt it was important to let the public know how poor Auburn’s prison security is. If the investigation finds that all of the claims related to the case are true, the implications of that conclusion are cause for concern.