22-year-old Robert Smith and 27-year-old Norie Davis are both being held in solitary confinement after they were seen on jail video surveillance tampering with a lock of an internal cell door.
According to a news release issued by the Indian River County Sheriff's Office, authorities do not believe the two were trying to escape but instead, attempting to communicate with other inmates.
Upon learning of the incident on June 29, 2013, Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar immediately ordered that Smith and Davis be held in separate administrative holding cells pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing.
As a result of the enhanced security measures taken by correctional staff, including increased monitoring of recorded video surveillance, the two inmates were observed on internal security video leaving their cell area on June 28, 2013 and entered an unauthorized but secured hallway within the cell block area.
At least four locked doors and several correctional personnel remained between the inmates and a door which would actually lead outside of the jail.
The enhanced security measures were taken as a result of the infamous jail escape in 2011. During the midnight hour of October 24, 2011, violent criminals Leviticus Taylor and Rondell Reed managed to saw, climb and dig their way out of the jail. The two were eventually caught. In May 2013, the Contact 5 Investigators revealed never-before-seen jail-house visitation video that showed Taylor using sign language to preview his break-out plan with his then girlfriend Sadie Welker.
Welker was eventually convicted of helping Taylor flee.
Upon learning of the video from the Contact 5 Investigators, Sheriff Loar made a series of changes to how inmates are monitored during visitation and throughout the day. Loar believes the enhanced security measures paid off in this latest incident.
Davis and Smith, both residents of Indian River County prior to their incarceration, were found guilty in disciplinary hearings held on July 7, 2013, and each was subsequently placed in disciplinary confinement for 20 days.
Additional incidents which have come to the attention of jail administration are under review but nothing indicates a compromise to public safety has occurred.
Sheriff Loar stated, "Institutional security is of paramount importance within our jail. The safety of the residents of Indian River County as well as that of our visitors is our core mission."