Systematic and personnel failures led to the incident in March where a convicted murderer serving a life sentence opened fire on guards at Rimonim prison with a gun he snuck into the facility, according to the findings of a report issued on Thursday.
The report was issued by a panel that was appointed in March, following the February 23 shooting at Rimonim prison where inmate Samuel Sheinbein was shot dead at the hands of a police response team after he shot and injured a number of guards.
“Negligent practices and a failure to carry out orders for a long period of time caused this incident to happen,” the report stated.
It specified that they were not able to find any evidence that prison personnel had helped inmate Sheinbein sneak the gun into the prison.
The report stated that the prison personnel did not double check that they were following procedure and they had not updated their procedures for carrying out searches or working intelligence on prisoners.
Furthermore, they made the smuggling of weapons a secondary concern, behind preventing escapes. In addition, they allowed Sheinbein to fall into a routine where he had far too much freedom to roam around the facility as a “working prisoner,” including in the offices of prison personnel, which he cleaned.
The report found that in addition to the pistol, Sheinbein managed to stash a mobile phone, a prison master key, knives, car keys, a fake pistol silencer, and more contraband items in a hole above the shower in his cell.
In regards to the pistol, they determined that he got it into the prison either by going on one of his 96 furloughs and planting it on the car of a prison worker, whose vehicles he often washed, or by tossing it over a fence into bushes at the prison, to areas where he had access during his custodial duties.
In addition, the report said that the prison officials made intelligence mistakes in classifying Sheinbein, saying: “They looked at him mainly as ‘the strange American’ who didn’t pose a threat. He also managed to fool the staff that he was basically just a hard worker.”
Sheinbein was always seen with a mop and a bucket that had a false bottom, which he used to smuggle contraband into prison.
The panel included former director-general of the Justice Ministry Dr. Guy Rotkopf; Brig.-Gen. (res.) Miki Barel, former head of the Justice Ministry’s unit for investigating police; former commander of the Northern District police Warden (ret.) Yitzhak Gabai; and Asst.-Warden (ret.) Debbie Saguy, former head of the Prisons Service instruction department.
They said that the report found personal failings as well as systematic ones but they have not yet determined which individuals to take efforts against.
On February 23, the 34-year-old Israeli-American and convicted murderer opened fire on prison guards and barricaded himself in the bathroom at Rimonim’s cell-block 5. Hours later he was shot dead when he opened fire on a Prisons Service and police response team.
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