A Prisoner’s Account of the Kingman Prison Break

Most of us remember the Kingman debacle and how three sadistic murderers managed to escape from the privately run prison for profit organization owned by Management Training Corporation (MTC). Clearly we recall how the prison group failed to make timely notifications to both the local law enforcement and the primary investors in their enterprise, the Arizona Department of Corrections, Central Office.

According to all reports released up to this day, there has been little dispute about the mechanics that allowed the escape to be facilitated with minimum effort by an accomplice that has already been sentenced to serve prison time for at least half the term of her natural life. This female accomplice, Casslyn Welch, received 20 years for her part of the escape plan from the Kingman facility. She is currently facing additional charges in New Mexico for an alleged murder of an Oklahoma couple that was murdered and where authorities have linked DNA of escapee John McCluskey to the crime scene when he was with her and the third escapee, Tracy Providence. According to New Mexico State Police these three killed

Also noticeable is the fact that one of these escapees, Daniel Renwick pleaded guilty to the shooting involved with the town of Rifle, Colorado police when he was a fugitive on the run from the Kingman area. The judge sentenced prisoner Renwick to 60 years of imprisonment in a Colorado prison before he will return back to an Arizona prison after he stands trial for the escape. In the meantime, Providence and McCluskey and Welch are pending trial on the charges filed that state McCluskey shot and killed the Haas couple when they were traveling through New Mexico and burned their bodies in their travel camper. Later on, the stolen Haas truck was recovered and the trio was eventually captured.

Since that time, there have been many different sets of eyes looking at the prison break and how these men managed to find their way out to the dark desert with the help of a pair of wire cutters tossed over the fence by Welch.

The report issued by the Arizona Department of Corrections revealed numerous flaws that were pre-existing to the time murderers were approved to be housed at the Kingman facility.

When looking into this matter from the inside out, we found a person who was there when the escape occurred and shared with some of us, his observations and evaluations of the security at the Kingman prison complex. His name is not important but his information reveals revelations that should bring serious concerns to any lawman in charge of the county or locality where such private prisons are situated as this set of eyes reveals total incompetence and disregard for public safety.

The confidential informant states “I got released from ASPC Kingman a month ago and if there is anybody out there that might have a question I could answer I would be more than glad to help. Its the least I could do. I was on the medium yard Hualapai [unit”. When asked about the Kingman escape he said ” Ahhh.. the escape fiasco; it should be a textbook example on how you can turn a a good thing into a bad one haha.I arrived at Kingman from Lewis and first thing I noticed was that there were less perimeter fences than Lewis- usually for medium custody yards, there are usually at least 2 barbed wire fences behind every building- Kingman had one.

“As for the fences being porous, they were not, I never saw a tear in the fence or a part of the fence at which I might assume somebody could easily escape through. The CI continued to state “Prison perimeter fences are designed to discourage escapes but they can’t really prevent escapes if nobody monitors the fences. (Barbed wire fences are made obsolete if an inmate can just cut through them without nobody stopping him)- and that’s what happened. While I am usually wary of believing anything the ADC claims, from what I saw, the guards indeed had become lax — that means the occasional roving patrol took its time around the fence (the eventual escapees noticed this as everybody else), and you would think that the fence was monitored through video camera right? Thats probably when the shift change issue comes in, probably nobody was watching the video.”

“One thing you gotta understand is the number one reason private companies manage to make profit out of such a despicable business is that they don’t pay their employees enough compared to what the state pays. Hence the level of job loyalty that the guards have is really low, most guards in the prison looked like they just stepped out of high school- and it was more like – you don’t make trouble for me, I don’t make any for you. When asked who do you blame for this escape the answer was a short “The state!!!”

“The state knew the blueprints to that prison, they approved it, they had resident ADC supervisors and somebody had to be the scapegoat- the low, helpless employee. They simply could have that redesigned the prison when they started to bring higher level inmates there but they chose not to, I wonder why if its not for the dollar.” “Because it boils not to whether an employee slacked off -thats gonna happen everywhere- its about why safeguards weren’t put in place in case that happened. Just one fence in a medium custody prison?, come on..not even county jail is like that.”

“Now of course after the escape the ADC descended on the prison like vultures, taking away every inmate program possible (they brought back eventually, but why the hell take them away in the 1st place). Movement restrictions of course became even more restricted, chow lines take 2 hours, people are getting tickets for not making their beds by 7am….”

Needless to add to this confidential informant is the fact that throughout this episode, the MTC group was never in control of this situation with their bad security practices that involved inmate accountability counts, diligent performance to ensure policies were being followed and failures to report electronic and mechanical deficiencies that contributed to the success of the escape. Thus the combination of apathy by the state, the failure to perform by the private contractor and the lack of oversight to ensure the institution was operating according to the policies and post orders approved by the ADOC were totally neglected and ignored.


Frank Smith (consultant)