Changes have made been made to how guards escort prisoners after William Bicknell held an unarmed guard hostage when he escaped in 2011.

On Wednesday, Bicknell was given a life sentence with no chance of parole for at least eight years for a series of crimes committed over the nine days he was on the run.

James Bloomfield of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers says prisoner escort vehicles now have panic alarms and GPS units.

“Prior to that we only had radios or phones to communicate back with the institution or with the police if we got into a situation like this,” he said.

“So now …we have a GPS that will find the vehicle immediately and if we hit an alarm it's immediately called and sent to assist.”

Bicknell, 6-6 and 402 pounds, was being escorted by a single unarmed guard while he was on a day pass from Drumheller Institution on March 10, 2011.  

Bicknell pulled a knife on the guard, took him hostage for five and half hours, and then drove him to a farm in Lamont County where he also took a farmer hostage.

Bicknell left the two men behind after driving away in the farmer’s car.

He took two more people hostage and was finally captured after a gunfight with RCMP.