Seven inmates are stabbed in melee at prison

August 17, 2007|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,Sun reporter

Seven inmates at the Metropolitan Transition Center in Baltimore were hospitalized last night with stab wounds after an exercise yard fight, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Division of Correction said.

The stabbings come 2 1/2 months after 18 inmates there were taken to hospitals after a similar melee in the exercise yard.

The nature of the injuries and the conditions of the men were not available.

No correctional officers were hurt.

The prison, in the 900 block of Forrest St., was put under lockdown, during which inmates are generally confined to their cells and denied visitation.

Shortly before 8 p.m., a fight broke out among a small group of inmates, during which seven of them were stabbed with unknown weapons, said Maj. Priscilla Doggett, the Division of Correction spokeswoman.

A city Fire Department dispatcher said ambulances took some of the injured men to Johns Hopkins Hospital and others to Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Doggett described the fight as an "incident" and declined to compare it with the fight in the prison yard June 1 that injured 18 inmates.

The earlier fight, which also involved stabbings, reportedly stemmed from tensions between the Bloods gang and Sunni Muslim prisoners, corrections sources said at the time.

It was unusual because of the high number of inmates involved and injured.

"We just don't know who was involved or what led up to last night's incident," Doggett said.

She said the stabbings are being investigated.

Doggett said security officers in the yard quickly restored order, and that many other inmates not involved in the incident immediately complied with orders to leave the yard and return to their cells.

She said she didn't know whether any weapons were recovered.

After the June brawl, the transition center was put under lockdown, and authorities found dozens of handmade weapons around the prison, mainly shanks made from Plexiglas or metal.

The transition center, a minimum-security prison, houses about 1,700 inmates.

Most have two years or less remaining to serve. It is inside part of the former Maryland Penitentiary, which was built in 1811.

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