Texas prisons to resume transportation with heightened security

Southwest

(NewsNation) — Texas prison system officials will resume inmate transportation Monday with tougher security after a convicted murderer escaped a prison van and killed five people while on the run, officials said.

Three corrections officers will ride in each transport instead of the previously standard two,  the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said in a statement. High-risk inmates will no longer be allowed to travel with other inmates, and new video surveillance equipment will be installed.

The raised security measures come after convicted murderer Gonzalo Lopez escaped from his Texas prison van last month, then killed a grandfather and his four grandsons. On May 12, Lopez broke out of his restraints and cage, stabbed the bus driver and sparked the largest manhunt in Texas history. In response, Texas officials had stopped all non-emergency transportation. Law enforcement officers shot and killed Lopez in South Texas earlier this month.


Inmates have always been strip-searched before being transported, but now officials are implementing new enhanced searches of inmates, prison system spokesman Jason Clark said Sunday. He declined to say what form the enhanced searches would take.

Meanwhile, a previously announced independent security review of what allowed Lopez to escape would continue by an outside party, according to a Texas Department of Criminal Justice statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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