TRION, GA (Times Free Press) -- Hays State Prison was supposed to be getting better. After two convicted armed robbers scaled the razor wire fence and fled into the woods, kidnapping a woman at knifepoint along the way, lawmakers demanded change. State officials said they would beef up patrols, keep a tighter rein on inmates as well as guards. That was five years ago.

But soon attention to detail slipped again. Cellphones have proliferated. Cell doors have been left broken, some for more than a year. Not a week has gone by without a stabbing or beating. No one is spared. Last February, one guard was stabbed 22 times. Not long after, another was attacked in the chow hall. Both survived.

Now, with three inmates killed in a month, former and current guards, inmates and families say the danger is escalating and it's time to force order and security at the prison in Trion, Ga.

"An officer's going to come out in a box," said a former guard who asked to be quoted anonymously because he feared retaliation.

One Calhoun, Ga., father, Jim Meadows, says he was forced to pay $19,000 to inmates who threatened to hurt or kill his son, who was behind bars on a drug conviction.

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