LANSING, Kan. (AP) – Detainees in a Kansas prison where at least 28 people have been disgusted by the coronavirus ransacked offices, smashed windows and lit small fires for several hours before the facility was secured, said prison officials on Friday.
The disturbance involving around 20 men started around 3 p.m. Thursday in Lansing Correctional Center Medium Security C, said Rebecca Witte, spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Corrections. The fires took place in a different housing unit from the prison and did not involve the same inmates as the most serious disturbances in cell C, she said.
The situation lasted until around 11 p.m. when staff using tear gas were able to enter cell C and began to take detainees from their cells to another building on the ground. Everyone was safe on Friday, she said.
“We have launched an investigation into what has happened and what can go forward to ensure that it does not happen again,” Governor Laura Kelly said on Friday. “But rest assured that my administration will complete this work, hold those responsible for the epidemic accountable and put in place all the additional measures necessary to guarantee the maintenance of security and order.” We will learn from it. “
Two inmates sustained minor injuries, including one who received stitches for a cut and one who received medical treatment after inhaling tear gas, said Kelly. Both were treated on site. Staff members were able to exit the building when the unrest started and no staff members were injured.
The governor stated that if a review of the disturbance was underway, it would appear that the officers followed departmental protocols and that, ultimately, they ensured that the injuries were minor and that there were no injuries. dead.
Correctional Services Secretary Jeff Zmuda said they did not yet know what triggered the disturbance, which was not in the building where the quarantined detainees are held
Lansing Prison recently attracted attention amid the coronavirus crisis, with the Correctional Service reporting Friday 16 employees and 12 inmates with confirmed COVID-19 cases in the facility. Seven other detainees are under quarantine for observation.
Correctional Services Secretary Jeff Zmuda said they did not yet know what started the disturbance, which was not in the building where the quarantined detainees are held.
On Thursday, each staff member and detainee from Lansing Prison received three cloth masks. The prison had instituted a plan to reduce displacements last Saturday which prevented the various units of the establishment from mixing.
The Kansas American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday asked the Kansas Supreme Court to immediately release prisoners who have pre-existing medical conditions that make them vulnerable to the coronavirus. This class action petition is on behalf of seven inmates in jails, including the Lansing Institution.
The Kansas Supreme Court allowed the ACLU’s request to expedite the case and plead for Wednesday on Friday.
The department said on Thursday that state officials recognize that detainees and prison staff are particularly at risk of infection and have taken steps to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in prisons.
The cell home, which housed 169 people on Thursday, suffered “quite a bit of damage” during the unrest, said Witte. In addition to the broken windows, the prisoners damaged computers, furniture, security cameras and lights.