PLATTSBURGH — A portion of Clinton Correctional Facility was on lockdown Wednesday as officials continued to investigate a fight in the North Recreation Yard the day before.
According to information from the New York State Correction Officers Police Benevolent Association, a four man inmate fight in the recreation yard escalated into upwards of 60 inmates fighting at about 4:40 p.m. Tuesday.
An on-duty sergeant witnessed the four-man fight break out in the yard.
GAS CANISTERS USED
As the fight quickly escalated and more inmates became involved, several direct orders were given to the inmates to cease but they would not comply, the union said.
A tower officer fired chemical agents into the crowd but it did not have the desired effect and the inmates continued to fight.
A second canister was fired into the crowd also with no effect.
Strong winds in the yard were pushing the chemical agent away from the fight making it ineffective, the union said.
In all, officers fired 22 canisters of chemical agent into the fight.
After several minutes, the inmates complied and stopped fighting.
All inmates in the yard at the time of the fight were removed and brought to several facility buildings.
In all, 192 inmates were removed from the yard.
Officers searched the yard after the inmates were removed and found two makeshift weapons on the ground.
A third weapon was located on the floor in the gymnasium, one of the buildings the inmates were moved to.
Several inmates sustained lacerations during the fight and they were treated by facility medical staff and transported to a local hospital for further treatment.
Reports from those close to the maximum security prison said that the fight appeared to be over drugs or money.
No staff were injured and the incident was still under investigation, the union said.
"This was an extremely dangerous situation at Clinton yesterday. What started as a small inmate on inmate fight blew up into a full scale brawl," John Roberts, Northern Region vice president for NYSCOPBA, said.
"On the heels of three large inmate fights at Auburn, Franklin and Green Haven Correctional facilities in the past couple months, this incident yesterday once again underscores the need to provide a safer environment for staff to work in. Thankfully, we didn’t have any staff injured, but the severity of the fight and inmates slashed by other inmates with makeshift weapons should paint a clear picture for the administration."
Roberts said that certain parts of the prison were being frisked and were on partial lockdown.
The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision did not release any further information on Wednesday.
"We cannot comment further on specifics, however we can state that the department has zero tolerance for any incarcerated individual in our facilities who does not follow protocols or worse, commits a criminal act," a statement from DOCCS said.
"Anyone found to have committed a crime inside a DOCCS’ facility will be held accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
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