Expert explains how OCCC escape exposes glaring security breakdowns

Daniel Skelton

It’s been roughly 48 hours since inmate Daniel Skelton was reported missing from Oahu Community Correctional Center and authorities have yet to find him.

There’s also no answer from the Dept. of Public Safety on how he got through a barbed wire fence without anyone noticing.

Skelton was discovered missing during the 6 a.m. headcount Monday, according to public safety officials.

Officials said he got out by climbing through a hole in the bathroom ceiling and making his way through a crawl space and out of the building.

He then, somehow, got through the perimeter fence.

The department says it’s reviewing surveillance video that shows Skelton escaping, but will not release that video to the media.

A national expert says the details of Skelton’s escape are bothersome and reveal a glaring breakdown in prison security.

Joe Gunja of SIMCO Consulting says the most prominent sign is that guards at the towers failed to spot Skelton when he got up on the roof, when he jumped down and when he got through the fence.

“All I can assume is they just missed the guy,” he told KHON2. “Somebody didn’t see him up there. They even admitted the fact that he was on the roof and he dropped down.”

There are four guard towers surrounding OCCC and a spokesperson says the prison was fully staffed at the time, but would not say how many guards were in each tower.

Gunja points out that it would have taken Skelton some time to get out.

“It’s odd that the towers wouldn’t see a guy on the roof, plus going through the fence,” he said. “It’s not like going through the fence takes 10 seconds. I mean, that takes work.”

Once Skelton got near the fence, Gunja says an alarm system should have been activated and the fence should be checked regularly for any weak spots.

A DPS spokesperson said corrections officers routinely check the fence several times a day, and there are cameras and lights along the fence area, but no alarms.

Gunja also wonders why the guards watching the security cameras didn’t see anything and questions whether the guards were monitoring them closely.

As for punching a hole through a roof in the bathroom, Gunja is baffled that it can happen in a prison and that nobody heard it.

The spokesperson said it is still an ongoing investigation and officials are still looking into how Skelton managed to escape.

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