ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Three separate large inmate fights over the past two weeks led to select blocks of the correctional facility being locked down and several make-shift weapons being seized by officers.
The first incident occurred at approximately 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday, October 2. Officers assigned to the yard observed four inmates exchanging punches with one inmate. The officers gave the inmates several direct orders to stop fighting. The inmates eventually complied and stopped. Four inmates got on the ground and one inmate placed his hands on the fence. As staff were securing the inmates, one jumped from the ground and charged another on the ground. He began to kick the inmate and then dropped to the ground where he continued the assault by repeatedly punching him.
As the situation began to escalate again, chemical agents were discharged into the group. The inmate who jumped off the ground continued his attack on the other inmate until an officer had to use force to stop the attack.
Once the situation was brought under control, the five inmates were removed from the yard and brought to the facility infirmary. The inmate who jumped off the ground sustained minor lacerations and puncture wounds that were consistent with some type of a weapon. The inmate he attacked on the ground sustained minor lacerations that were also consistent with a weapon.
Staff searched the immediate area where the fight occurred and recovered two plastic make-shift shanks that had been sharpened on one end. The weapons were taken as evidence.
Two inmates were placed in a Special Housing Unit. All five face internal disciplinary charges.
One officer sustained minor injuries and was treated by medical staff and remained on duty.
The second incident occurred in the mess hall on Thursday, October 4, at approximately 8:10 a.m. Three inmates began fighting, and staff ordered the inmates to cease, but they ignored the order and three additional inmates joined in the fight. OC Spray was deployed and initially had no effect. A second round of OC Spray was deployed and the inmates stopped fighting.
As order was being restored, a second fight broke out. As the situation began to escalate, another round of OC Spray was deployed with minimal effect. Multiple staff members had to use force to bring the combative inmates to the floor and get them into restraints. Several inmates continued to be verbally abusive to officers.
All inmates involved were frisked for weapons. Two sharpened plastic shanks were recovered from two inmates. Additional make-shift weapons were located in the area around the mess hall. A search of one of the inmate’s cell turned up three sharpened tooth brushes that were hidden in the cell vent. All weapons were taken as evidence.
Several inmates were treated with minor lacerations that were consistent with a cutting instrument. All inmates involved face disciplinary charges.
Five officers were taken to a local hospital and treated for an assortment of minor injuries. They did not return to duty.
The third incident at the facility occurred on Monday, October 14 at approximately 3:30 p.m. Two inmates began fighting inside the fieldhouse. As the fight continued, 10 inmates joined in. Staff gave several verbal commands to stop but they were ignored. Two rounds of OC Spray were deployed and eventually all the inmates stopped fighting.
The inmates were removed from the fieldhouse. Two sustained minor injuries and were treated at the facility infirmary. All inmates involved face internal disciplinary charges.
Both cell lockdowns have been lifted.
No staff were injured in the incident.
“Once again we are addressing inmate violence at Elmira Correctional Facility. Over the last six months there have been several incidents in which staff and inmates were injured. Now in a period of the last two weeks, staff had to quell three large fights. Numerous plastic shanks were recovered from two of the inmate fights. Those weapons could have easily been used against staff. This disorder is a constant at Elmira and is exactly why significant disciplinary measures need to exist to deter this type of behavior. Without them, it exposes staff and other inmates to potentially dangerous situations at the hands of inmates who realize there are no repercussions for violent behavior.“ – stated Joe Miano, Western Region Vice President.