It appears federal corrections officials were more concerned about that tornado that touched down in Marianna last Wednesday night than they first let on.
A week ago the federal prison in Marianna was hit by a tornado during Hurricane Ivan. NewsChannel Seven quoted eyewitnesses saying it was a direct hit and damage was considerable.
Federal officials say the report was wrong and all that was damaged was a fence and damage was minimal. As it turns out that wasn’t exactly the case and it was much more.
In fact, damage from the twister was so severe they started moving inmates out of the facility that night during the storm, and all of them have now been moved to other facilities.
Jackson County’s County Administrator Ted Lakey says he’s been told the Marianna Federal Prison facility is not adequate to house inmates at this time. In fact, aerial photographs show damage to several brick buildings inside the prison compound was severe.
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson’s office says repairs at the prison have already begun and it should be repaired in several months.
It is believed there were not any injuries in the prison tornado. It is known prison officials were able to maintain control and there were no escapes and no incidents.
The inmates have all been moved out and some staff members have been temporarily relocated while the Marianna prison is repaired. Other employees are staying behind to assist with the rebuilding.