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Supervisor actions contain Monroe prison disturbance

Wednesday evening at 8 p.m., the usual time the maximum custody unit inmates return to their cells for the evening and are locked-in, turned out not so usual.

A normal nightly lock-in for the inmates, turned into a hostile confrontation with the staff.

Warden Garry Haidle was notified about the escalating disturbance that was becoming volatile.

“As soon as I got the phone call I was on my way to the jail and on my way I called the correctional facility’s emergency response team (CERT) and the Sheriff’s Department,” he said.

He explained the CERT is a group of guards employed at the jail who are trained specifically for this type of situation and attend training throughout the year.

Situation escalates

When the inmates continued to disobey the orders and displayed stronger hostility toward the staff, the supervisors deployed the pepper ball launcher, a device that throws powder that is highly irritating to the eyes, nose and mucus membranes.

The staff was forced to exit to the secure sally port area, a secure and controlled entry way to an enclosure that is fortified to protect the prison staff and still allow visual surveillance of the inmates.

“Meanwhile the inmates began to barricade the unit doors and attempt to make weapons from broken broom handles,” Haidle said.

Assistance arrives

By now, along with deputy wardens, Cert had arrived, as well as assistance from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Monroe County District Attorney’s office and Stroud Area Regional Police Canine unit.

“Usually the bigger the force you have, the more likely the inmates will listen,” Haidle said.

A discussion was held from the secure sally port of the inmate housing unit. The inmates who would not originally comply with orders agreed to comply and be locked into cells.

No injuries encountered, no weapons were recovered except for the broken broom handles in the common area of the housing unit, according to the warden.

“We have protocol plans in place and with the agencies that helped, the plan worked exactly like it is supposed to,” he said.

The District Attorney’s office could not comment on what started the issue because officials are investigating the disturbance.

“All the inmates that were involved in the disturbance will be charged,” said Mario Orlando, a detective from the Monroe County District Attorney’s office.