Also, the Richmond Times-Dispatch revisits an infamous death row escape in 1984 where six death row inmates escaped from a facility that had been lauded by the Governor at the time as "a firm and lasting and unbreakable connection between crime and punishment." That prison break, and other breakdowns in the prison system that year caused a shakeup in the Virginia Department of Corrections. Among the other incidents, less noticed in the sensational climate of the Briley brothers' escape, were these:
In June, two maximum-security inmates on an outside work detail at the State Penitentiary in Richmond briefly escaped. On July 10, mini-riots at Mecklenburg
injured six inmates and 10 guards.
And in early August, 32 maximum-security inmates at Mecklenburg held nine employees hostage.
These were all maximum security facilities, and despite that, convicted violent felons were able either to escape or to injure or abduct correctional employees.
We have not devised a way effectively to render offenders harmless, which is why capital punishment needs to remain an option among all other sentencing options.