Unrest at Balto. County jail quelled Guards at overcrowded jail put down brief disturbance.

November 29, 1991|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,Evening Sun Staff

A disturbance at the Baltimore County Detention Center was put down by detention officers last night as a back-up force from the Towson District surrounded the complex.

Nearly a dozen heavily armed police officers were ready to move in if needed, but the disturbance was brought under control without their assistance, police said.

No reason was given for the incident, in which inmates in one part of the jail refused to shut their cell doors, making it impossible for guards to secure the inmates for the night.

Last night's disturbance was the second incident at the badly overcrowded facility in about two weeks. On Nov. 13 and 14, nearly 100 inmates protested the overcrowding by refusing to eat lunch. That incident was resolved peacefully.

Police said the detention center, in the 400 block of Kenilworth Drive, has a capacity of 569 men and 67 women. As of last night, the center contained 854 men, 84 women and 17 juveniles, police said.

County police reported that last night's disturbance began around 9:15 p.m. in Pod 4-C.

Each pod in the jail contains 20 cells, a dining area and walking space, said police. Each cell is designed to hold one inmate, but the overcrowding requires two to sleep on bunk beds and one on a mattress on the cell floor, said police.

As the inmates continued to resist the officers' efforts to close the cells last night, wet toilet tissue was thrown at a control center containing several officers.

Police said at least one fire was set in a trash can, causing smoke to drift through the pod.

As detention officers attempted to quell the disturbance, the shift commander deemed the situation was out of control and requested the aid of county police.

But the disturbance was put down by detention officers, and the pod cell doors were shut. A complete lock-down was put into effect, police said.

A fight between two inmates during the disturbance resulted in one of them being slightly injured, police said. He was sent to a hospital. His condition was not known.

The incident, police said, will be investigated by the Sheriff's Department, which is in charge of the center.

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