Security upgrades make progress at Branchville Correctional Facility

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By The Staff

BRANCHVILLE - Work has begun on a new $540,000 perimeter stun fence at Branchville Correctional Facility.

Security Automation Systems of Noblesville is installing the fence, which will be placed on the inside of the existing dual perimeter fence and will encircle the entire facility.

Construction is expected to last about 90 days. Subcontractors include Electric Plus from Danville and Bullseye Fence Design of Noblesville.

The News reported in May that two Indiana House members secured funding for an electrified security fence at the facility.

State Reps. Russ Stilwell and Dennie Oxley announced funding for the security upgrade, saying the Indiana State Budget Committee had released a $950,000 appropriation for the construction of new perimeter security systems at Branchville and the Correctional Industrial Facility in Pendleton.

The announcement came less than two months after three men escaped after beating a maintenance worker and cutting through a fence. The men fled to Kentucky and injured three people there before being captured in Nebraska.

An electrified perimeter fence had been proposed for Branchville more than a year ago, but those plans didn't move forward until after the escape. Stilwell and Oxley, who received calls and letters from concerned residents, called the existing fences inadequate.

"Currently, the Branchville Correctional Facility is only protected by a chain-link fence," Stilwell said. "This funding will allow the facility to install an electric security perimeter fence, which will prevent offenders from escaping."

Other changes implemented after the March escapes included restricting the times offenders can move to and from their dormitories and placing dogs inside the two existing perimeter fences. New high-powered lights are currently being installed.