DANNEMORA — A fight in the yard at Clinton Correctional Facility spurred officials to lock down the maximum security facility.
According to Department of Corrections Spokesperson Linda Foglia, there were about 250 inmates in the main yard around 9 p.m. last Friday.
About 20 of them started fighting with what appeared to be weapons of some kind.
Officers ordered them to stop, but they did not.
At that point, several warning shots were fired into the yard from the prison towers.
No one was hit, but the fighting stopped.
The offenders were removed from the yard and brought to the gymnasium, where they were interviewed and seen by medical personnel.
Foglia said 10 inmates suffered minor injuries, such as bruises and scrapes, but nothing serious.
There were no injuries to officers.
The inmates involved were given in-house discipline, but no criminal charges were filed.
As a result of the altercation, the prison was locked down Friday night and continued at that status on Monday while an investigation continued.
During lockdown, inmates are kept in their cells 24 hours a day.
Foglia said the lockdown should be lifted in the next few days after the investigation is complete.
The last lockdown at Clinton occurred July 30, 2010.
Foglia said the cause of the fight had not been determined, and she could not say whether it was gang-related.
The incident generated a statement from the New York State Correction Officers and Police Benevolent Association, which is at odds with the state over the proposed closure of seven prisons as a cost-savings move.
"The recent events at Clinton are not too surprising, as New York's prison population is currently at 122 percent capacity with more than 10,000 inmates double-bunked — meaning two violent inmates housed in an area designed for one," NYSCOBA President Donn Rowe said.
"As a result, in the past year alone, we have seen inmate suicides double, inmate-on-inmate violence increase 12 percent, and inmate-on-officer violence is up and contraband is up."
In late June, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he planned to close four minimum-security prisons and three medium-security units.
Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility was closed this past January as part of a 2010 closure plan from former Gov. David Paterson. Moriah Shock Incarceration was slated for closure this year, but the state reversed that decision.
Rowe warned that more prison closures could lead to more violence.
"In recent months, as the state has closed prisons, we have seen this troubling trend in disturbances continue across the system," he said.
"We remain deeply concerned about the impact these cuts will have on the structural integrity and safety of our state's prison system."
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