Prison unit secured after guards held for three hours
Six inmates at the state’s maximum security prison in Tucker held three guards for about three hours Monday afternoon after they took control of an area of the unit, a prisons spokesman said.
Department of Correction spokesman Solomon Graves said the staff members were released from the area Monday evening. They suffered minor injuries, including bruises and scrapes, he said.
Six inmates took keys from correctional officers during a “recreation call” at the Maximum Security Unit in Tucker around 3:30 p.m. Monday, according to an initial statement from Graves.
Graves, in a later interview, said the six had overpowered two officers and gotten their keys and that a third officer was isolated in the area.
One inmate, who was injured during the disturbance, was taken to an area hospital, Graves said. The inmate, who was in stable condition, was not involved in the initial disturbance, according to Graves.
When asked why the inmate was taken to an area hospital, Graves said the injuries to the inmate were too much for the infirmary at the prison to handle.
He said the inmates involved in the incident have been transported to a secure off-site location, but he declined to say where.
Graves said in a statement that, as of 6:30 p.m., all staff members had been released and that the disturbance was resolved as of 6:45 p.m. and the unit began “the process of returning to normal operation.”
Graves did not respond when asked whether the prison was put on lockdown
during the incident.
Reached by phone Monday evening, Bill Sadler, an Arkansas State Police spokesman, said the agency will investigate any criminal activity that may have occurred in the leadup to the situation or during the incident.
The 532-bed Maximum Security Unit in Tucker is down the road from the Tucker Unit, a separate facility, also in Jefferson County.
The latest situation at the unit came two weeks after three warning shots were fired by correctional officers responding to a reported stabbing in a solitary confinement area at the unit, according to Graves.
The July 22 incident began when at least two inmates made it out of their single-man cages in the prison’s isolation recreational area and breached the cage of another inmate, who was stabbed, Graves said.
When correctional officers responded, they were assaulted as they tried to handcuff one of the out-of-bounds inmates. Then, three warning shots were fired, according to Graves.
State police continue to investigate that incident, Sadler said, and the case will eventually be turned over to the Jefferson County prosecuting attorney.