National Geographic

Breakout: Through The Wall

Maximum-security prisons are meant to house hardened criminals, but desperate and determined cons are hard to contain. Breakout: Through The Wall gives the inside story behind two maximum-security prison breaks. Tommy 'Conejo' Valdez and his crew are in prison for armed robbery and assault. The pressure of being away from family and the desire to be free pushes the group to find a way out and leads them to a weak spot at a high-security prison where their detained in Santa Clara, New Mexico. Their escape plan takes weeks of planning and the execution of it is gutsy. Harold Martin Laird is remanded to prison in Texas after being convicted of Capital Murder. Threatened by other inmates in his cellblock and in fear for his life, he uses his innate ability to work and fix things with the materials at hand, to break his way out of his cell through the light fixture in the wall. Both escapes pin human against the structures they are bound into. The walls they break through are challenging, the conviction they have to escape is insurmountable, and the freedom they breathe after all their work is sweet.