Prisoners at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster, Massachusetts rioted for three hours on Tuesday. During this time, they were in control of this maximum-security prison. Approximately 47 prisoners there wrecked security cameras, destroyed computers, broke tables apart, and pulled fire extinguishers off the walls. This is considered to be one of the biggest prison riots that Massachusetts has had in many years.
Fortunately, there were a few security cameras still active. Officers from the Department of Corrections were watching the riots live through these cameras. They previously retreated to a safe unit after numerous inmates started fighting each other with their fists. This meant that no corrections officers were in control of the prisoners while these fights and riots were taking place. Many prisoners had masks on their faces that were made from T-shirts.
While the inmates destroyed their own cellblock, they were able to arm themselves with metal bars and makeshift knives. That is why the corrections officers stayed hidden because it would have been too risky to send them out into the cellblock with so many armed inmates looking to hurt them.
Daniel J Bennett, who is the Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety and Security, said the inmates acted as if they were “getting ready for war.” Eventually, the corrections officers reentered the cellblock after sending pepper spray into the area and blinding the prisoners. The officers were then able to lock the prisoners back up in their cells and secure the area. Nobody was reported injured.
However, this entire incident raises questions about why the corrections officers didn’t try to intervene a lot sooner. Even though there are over 1,100 prisoners at the facility, not all of them were part of the riot. There were only 47 prisoners that caused all this trouble.
An investigation into the three-hour riot is likely going to take place now.