Wednesday, April 17, 2002

twist tie security fence
We are proud of Delaware's new multi-million dollar facility for the criminally insane, the Jane E. Mitchell Building, built in 1999. It is much more clean, pleasant, and secure than its predecessor the Comegys Building, which is now a gravel parking lot. I visit the Mitchell Building about twice a month in my duties as a legal representative of some of the patients at the Delaware Psychiatric Center.

Not long after construction was completed, and on one of my regular visits, I noticed the method of construction of the large green security fence that encloses three sides of the building. Having paid for a 6' high chain link fence for my back yard, I had a vague appreciation for what it takes to put up a 12' security fence (especially the cost). What I noticed, to my disbelief, was that the fence is anchored to the poles with twist ties. The ties are relatively light weight wires, about the same size as a strand of household electrical wire.

And these twist ties are in places (like the juncture of the fence post and the building) where a person could easily reach around the pole and undo the twist tie, and walk away. I wouldn't want this laxity of security at an elementary school, much less at our most secure facility for the criminally insane.

I wrote to the hospital administration, way back then, but I have had no response. Wouldn't $50 worth of hardware and a day's work for a maintenance man at least secure the fence enough to require a tool of some sort? Doesn't the hospital owe that to our community?

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