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September 19, 2023

Chester County Prison plans major security upgrades following Danelo Cavalcante's escape

Acting prison warden Howard Holland promised 'state-of-the-art' enhancements during a town hall to address residents concerns

Government Prisons
Danelo Cavalcante escape SOURCE/CHESTER COUNTY D.A.'S OFFICE

Chester County Prison will receive a series of security upgrades following the escape of convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante, shown breaking out of the prison on Aug. 31.

Chester County Prison officials are planning to make a series of security enhancements to facility, including added personnel and security camera upgrades, over the next 6 to 12 months. It's an effort to prevent security breaches like the daring escape that convicted Danelo Cavalcante pulled off last month.  

Acting warden Howard Holland outlined the improvements Monday night at a town hall meeting in Popcopson Township, according to multiple news reports. The meeting was scheduled to address residents' concerns after Cavalcante spent 13 days on the lam, keeping several Chester County communities on edge. 

Cameras and recording devices were not permitted in the meeting, but Holland spoke with reporters afterward.

"We are going to take this facility and make it state of the art," Holland told 6ABC after the meeting. The prison upgrades also include additional razor wire and the use of drones and other technology to detect prisoner movements.

The area from which Cavalcante escaped has been fortified with more razor wire and military-grade mesh designed to prevent prisoners from slipping through as Cavalcante did after he strategically "crab-walked" up a wall in the prison's exercise yard on Aug. 31.  

Prison authorities also are considering the use of K9 units and ankle bracelets for more high-risk inmates at the facility. 

Cavalcante was not the first prisoner to expose the lax security at Chester County Prison. An inmate named Igor Bolte attempted to flee earlier this year by using the same escape route Cavalcante used. Unlike Cavalcante, Bolte was quickly apprehended. 

 Cavalcante was captured and brought back into custody last week after being spotted by police with a thermal imaging camera. The convicted killer, who was sentenced to life for killing his ex-girlfriend in 2021, now faces a new criminal charge for escaping the prison.