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Pennsylvania jail where Danelo Cavalcante escaped will spend millions to increase security

Chester County residents are still up in arms over the two-week manhunt for Cavalcante, who climbed between two walls to bust out. 
Prisoner Danelo Cavalcante, escaping from Chester County Prison in Pennsylvania, on Aug. 31, 2023.
Prisoner Danelo Cavalcante escaping from Chester County Prison in Pennsylvania last month. Chester County Prison / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Pennsylvania jail from where murderer Danelo Cavalcante recently escaped will spend as much as $3.5 million to enclose outdoor exercise yards in hopes of preventing future breakouts, officials said Wednesday.

The Chester County jail board unanimously approved a series of security upgrades, which include plans to cover eight outdoor exercise yards.

Other improvements proposed are the installation of up to 75 more surveillance cameras around the West Chester facility and the hiring of eight more staff members to monitor those eyes in the sky.

When Cavalcante escaped Aug. 31, he was wearing a nondescript white shirt, dark pants and white sneakers. He was captured two weeks later.

Howard Holland, acting Chester County prison warden, said Wednesday that he plans to change what inmates must wear.

Prisoners should don "high visibility clothing and then vary the color based on their classification levels," he said.

The location where Cavalcante climbed to freedom is where another inmate, Igor Bolte, also got away by scaling the walls May 19. Bolte was captured in a residential neighborhood about a half-mile from the prison.

Chester County residents attending a town hall Wednesday night were still livid about the recent escapes.

"It's shameful that we've made national news, worldwide news because of all the bungling," one of them, Bobbie Surrick, told NBC Philadelphia on her way into the meeting.

Chester County Vice Chairman Josh Maxwell, who also attended the hearing, said he understands the community's outrage.

"We have to go out every single day, every single week to try to earn this community's trust and deliver on those promises we're making," he said.