SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- As the manhunt continues for seven prison escapees wanted in a police officer's death, authorities are looking into possible security lapses that may have set the stage for the prison break.
Mac Stringfellow, chairman of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, says lapses by prison guards may be to blame for the escape at the medium-security Connally Unit.
"Obviously, policies and procedures were not followed," Stringfellow told the San Antonio Express-News for Monday editions. "If those procedures are followed, an escape cannot occur, but when you get lax, get complacent, this is what can result."
Stringfellow made the remarks as the board prepared to meet Thursday. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice was scheduled to present a report on the escape at the meeting.
"The problem at the Connally Unit I certainly don't believe is systemic," Stringfellow said, "but prudence requires that we take a look at the operation in all our prisons."
In the escape, the inmates took 14 revolvers, a shotgun, a rifle and more than 200 rounds of ammunition after overpowering guards. They later amassed dozens more weapons in a sporting goods store robbery on Christmas Eve, during which Irving police officer Aubrey Hawkins was shot to death.
As authorities try to determine the cause of the escape, police and prison officials hope a $200,000 reward will help them recapture the seven fugitives.
"We hope the high reward money will entice those people who have been assisting them in traveling and hiding," prison spokesman Larry Todd said. "We believe these are the same people who helped them make good on the escape."
The fugitives -- two convicted murderers, two armed robbers, a child beater, a serial rapist and a burglar -- have been on the run since Dec. 13. Authorities believe the group is hiding out in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The reward doubled Saturday when $100,000 was offered by Bond Jumper, an online company that seeks to help capture people who fail to appear in court after being charged with a crime.
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