MCI inmate riot damage estimate tops $1 million

May 31, 1991|By William F. Zorzi Jr.

Damage to the Maryland Correctional Institution at Hagerstown from Saturday's 2 1/2 -hour riot in which 58 inmates and correctional officers were injured is now estimated at more than $1 million, prison officials said yesterday.

Although engineers and maintenance staff were still reviewing the extent of the damage, the preliminary estimate was between $1.2 million and $1.5 million, said Sgt. Gregory M. Shipley, spokesman for the Division of Correction. Just after the riot, officials estimated the damage at only about $50,000.

Electrical power and water have been restored to the prison, where inmates have been locked in their cells since the riot was quelled. However, areas remain where the plumbing still is not operating, Sergeant Shipley said.

During the riot, in which as many as 1,000 prisoners roamed the institution and fought correctional officers with homemade weapons, inmates ripped telephones, emergency call boxes and electrical control boxes from the walls, damaged or destroyed cell-locking devices and destroyed correctional officers' offices, he said.

They damaged the fire detection and safety system and destroyed kitchen equipment in the dining room's food service line. "The equipment is destroyed, and replacement is necessary before normal operations can resume," Sergeant Shipley said.

The inmates stopped up and destroyed toilets in the institution, "completely destroyed" washers and dryers in the basement of the prison, and broke up recreation rooms, benches, tables, televisions and water fountains, the spokesman said.

Water from damaged toilets and from fire hoses -- which were ripped off walls and used to hold off correctional officers -- damaged the walls, ceilings and materials in the administration and classification offices, education department, library and supply rooms, he said.

About 2,000 8-inch-by-12-inch window panes also had been smashed, he said.

No charges have yet been brought against any of the inmates, Sergeant Shipley said. An investigation into the cause of the riot is continuing.

The riot left 44 inmates and 14 correctional officers injured. The third of six inmates hospitalized for gunshot wounds was released yesterday, the correction spokesman said. Three other inmates remain at Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown.

The riot began in the dining hall about 11:30 a.m. Saturday when several inmates among the 350 there began fighting. Corrections officials believe the fight was staged to draw officers into the area.

When the correctional officers did respond, they were overpowered by some of the inmates, who took their keys and released about 650 other inmates from their cells.

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