A disturbance that erupted between prisoners at an Oklahoma prison has left three inmates dead and five injured, according to NBC. Cimarron Correctional Facility is a moderate-to-maximum security prison that houses close to 1,800 inmates. What initially caused the disturbance is not known, but the internal brawl lasted approximately 40 minutes, with correctional officers stabilizing the situation at 4:39 p.m. No correctional officers or other prison facility workers were injured in the melee.
The names of the deceased have not yet been released, pending notification of their family members. It is unknown how critical the five injured inmates are at this time. Although the murders occurred in just one housing pod, the entire prison was put on lockdown with all inmates in their cells, according to procedure, said a prison spokesperson. The correctional facility is located approximately sixty miles from Tulsa, and houses criminals from all over Oklahoma.
According to RT, this is not the first disturbance in recent months at this particular facility, and while the other disturbance did not result in any serious injuries, it took correctional officers more than one hour to get under control. It is unknown the nature of the animosity nor the weapons used in either disturbance at this time.
Uprisings in prisons have long been feared, and gang activity in U.S. prisons remains a major security problem, with many prisoners belonging to the Bloods, Crips, or MS-13, popular rival gangs in which gang members gain status and respect for killing another inmate or correctional officers. Sometimes, weapons are smuggled in from the outside, but with increasing security, this is more difficult to accomplish.
At the Cimarron facility, only about 180 prisoners are considered “maximum security” prisoners, which means that they are an escape risk or convicted of a particularly heinous crime, or both situations. It is unknown if that is the pod in which the murders and injuries took place.
While correctional officers are trained in riot situations, many prisons operate with a very high prisoner-to-guard ratio, leaving guards vulnerable to attack and in a difficult situation when fights break out. Often there is warning that a disturbance may be on the horizon, and inmates are placed on lockdown before riots or injuries occur. While prisons have an obligation to attempt to protect their inmates, it remains a very dangerous situation when thousands of violent offenders are housed together.
For more information on prison riots, you can read previous reports of similar instances that have been published by the Inquisitr here.
[Photo by Stephen Hird/Reuters]