Holiday prison fights were likely planned

November 25, 2006

Hagerstown -- A series of Thanksgiving Day fights at Roxbury Correctional Institution that left six inmates injured appeared to have been planned, a prison spokeswoman said.

The fights started at 1 p.m. Thursday on three of the four tiers at the medium-security prison in Western Maryland and involved about 30 inmates. Many of the inmates were armed with homemade knives and tube socks filled with heavy objects, said Denise Gelsinger, a spokeswoman with the prison.

Gelsinger told The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown that inmates sometimes plan such disturbances for holidays when they know senior correctional officers are off.

Four inmates were treated at Washington County Hospital. Two were treated at the prison clinic.

Authorities are trying to determine whether the fights were related to gang violence -- a problem in Maryland prisons. The institution remained on lockdown yesterday.

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