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Monday, August 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Geiger escape sparks discussion

Officials say jailbreak by two inmates shows need for new facility

Sgt. Brett Sobosky was the incident commander on site after two prisoners escaped from Geiger Corrections Center on Tuesday evening. (Dan Pelle)
Sgt. Brett Sobosky was the incident commander on site after two prisoners escaped from Geiger Corrections Center on Tuesday evening. (Dan Pelle)

The escape of two inmates Tuesday from Geiger Corrections Center was the first such incident from that facility in at least five years, the staff said on Wednesday as sheriff’s officials argued the escape underlines the need for replacing the jail.

Geiger is converted from military housing built in 1959 and used by Spokane County for a mix of nonviolent inmates, including those awaiting trial like the two women who escaped.

“This is a military barracks,” said Lt. JoAnne Lake, assistant commander at Geiger. “It’s not built to make people stay in.”

Last year, county commissioners postponed a proposal to build a new jail facility near Geiger so officials could continue looking for ways to make it more palatable to voters. That proposal was part of a $199 million upgrade of county corrections facilities that also included a separate community corrections center and restoration of the Spokane County Jail back to its original number of beds.

Kathleen D. Stockton, 49, and Rachel A. Banks, 25, “both ended up getting cut pretty badly” when they threw a blanket over stainless steel razor wire to scale the facility’s 10-foot-tall fence, said Sgt. Brett Sobosky of Geiger Detention Services. “They were pretty bloody.”

Banks also suffered a broken ankle during one of the two jumps it took to get away.

Both women were taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center for treatment and then returned to Spokane County Jail, where they now face an additional charge of escape.

Sheriff’s deputies said the cuts were severe enough to be life-threatening.

“You don’t want to go over that wire,” Lake said.

The women used a mop handle to break out the upper portion of a bathroom window that was only partly covered by a security screen when the barracks were converted to a jail. The women climbed out of the ground-floor window, possibly also suffering cuts from that maneuver.

With her broken ankle, Banks was unable to keep up with Stockton. She was tracked down about two blocks from the detention facility.

Stockton, who lost a shoe in a snow bank, made it to a trailer park adjacent to the Airway Express Inn, 3809 S. Geiger Blvd., where she was seen knocking on doors for help.

Sheriff’s deputies, Washington State Patrol troopers and Geiger staff converged on the area after a resident called 911 and said a woman, later identified as Stockton, had showed up at his home covered in blood and asked for a ride because she had just jumped a fence at Geiger, according to court documents.

Tracks in the snow also led to the trailer park, Sobosky said.

Deputies found Stockton ducked down on the floorboard of an SUV wearing a change of clothes she had obtained from inside one of the trailer units. Her bloodied clothes were on the floorboards.

Troy A. Scheiber, 43, and his wife, Judith A. Scheiber, 46, were arrested on a misdemeanor charge of second-degree rendering criminal assistance. The couple live at the trailer park, according to court records.

Both women were back in custody within about an hour of their escape.

In addition to escape charges, Banks was being held for residential burglary, second-degree theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of tools used for stealing vehicles and attempting to elude police.

Stockton’s charges are for third-degree theft, possession of controlled substance and unlawful possession of a payment instrument.

Staff writer Meghann M. Cuniff contributed to this report.

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