Officers, Neighbors Happy with Upgrades at San Joaquin County Honor Farm

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY -- New razor wires, lights and fences at San Joaquin County’s Honor Farm have just been installed.

Deputies say the heightened security measures will make the minimum security jail safer for inmates, correctional officers and nearby families.

"It's just all measures to help protect the citizens," correctional officer Jennifer Kline said.

The updates were made in the last few weeks. Neighbors say they approve.

"No bad people coming in here, or we don’t have to worry about our safety around here in the neighborhood," neighbor Alberto Gonzalez said. "I think it’s a very good idea."

Before Sheriff Pat Withrow was elected, dozens of inmates had escaped the minimum security facility over the years, deeply concerning families.

"Anything that we can do to reduce the rate of possible escapes, we’re going to do," Kline said.

In 2016, Damien Gillespie slipped out of the jail and wreaked havoc in Lodi, engaging officers in a standoff and setting a home on fire. He was later found dead.

A year later, Corey Hughes left his work crew and hid from authorities for weeks.

Kline says the new measures should help keep inmates inside and contraband out.

"We're always looking for ways to upgrade, so that’s why we did our anti-climb fencing on the inside as well as our LED lights on the outside," Kline said.

Another correctional officer told FOX40 off camera that the brighter LED lights have made staff feel safer.

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