The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Security measures stepped up after youths break out

Updated at 07 Feb 2024 3:10 pm

Following the escape of several young people from the closed Pramont education center in Granges, the canton of Valais is stepping up security measures. With immediate effect, a private security guard will be deployed to monitor the center at night.

This change will increase the number of supervisors in the facility to two between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., the canton of Valais announced on Wednesday. The authorities plan to start implementing further measures at the end of February.

Among other things, additional cameras, a new security fence, exterior lighting and motion detectors are to be installed throughout the facility. The head of the Department of Security, Institutions and Sport (DSIS) and the head of the Service for the Execution of Sentences and Measures (DSMV) made these decisions in view of the current situation, it was reported.

Some measures, such as work to secure the walkway and an improved procedure to control the closing of the doors, were already implemented last year.

Ten young people fled

On Saturday evening shortly before midnight, ten teenagers and young men broke out of the education center. They had previously locked the guard in a cell. He was slightly injured. The youths then fled in a vehicle they had stolen nearby.

By Wednesday, six of the ten escapees, aged between 17 and 24, had been caught and arrested. The search for the remaining four is continuing, according to the authorities.

The director of the Valais penal institutions, Georges Seewer, told the media on Monday that, according to initial findings, the escape was possible due to human error. He did not provide any further details in view of the ongoing investigations.

Not the first outbreak

At the end of August 2023, young people had already escaped from the closed facility for minors and young adults and fled in a stolen vehicle. During the escape, the driver of the vehicle collided with several police vehicles that had tried to intercept him. The police were able to arrest three of the fleeing occupants shortly afterwards.

A fourth escapee was initially on the run. The police arrested him a day later in the canton of Vaud.

Last February, two teenagers aged 16 and 17 were on the run for an hour before they were found by the police after an intensive search on the grounds of the center.

Modernization planned

According to the canton, the building, which was built in 1978, no longer meets today's requirements. This problem has already been recognized, which is why a renovation of the site is planned as part of the "Vision 2030" prison strategy, the press release continued.

This stage provides for the renovation and expansion of the education center. The aim is to create 18 additional places, which would increase the total number of places available to 51.

©Keystone/SDA

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