Oregon State Penitentiary on lockdown after inmate fight breaks out

A corrections officer fired a warning shot to break up the conflict on the yard


By Kristi Turnquist
The Oregonian

SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem is on lockdown after a fight among inmates on the yard led to a corrections officer firing a warning shot to break up the conflict.

Jennifer Black, communications manager for the Oregon Department of Corrections, says she was notified of the incident at around 5:50 p.m. Sunday. There were no employee injuries, Black said, and no apparent serious inmate injuries. Approximately 215 inmates, all from one housing block, were on the yard at the time the fight took place.

In addition to the prison being on lockdown, dozens of inmates were taken to disciplinary segregation units, said Black, which means they can’t go back to their cells. Other prisoners will remain in their cells.

Phones for inmates to make calls are on the yard, so during the lockdown, inmates won’t be able to call family or friends, Black said.

Oregon State Penitentiary is the state’s only maximum security prison. The facility is one of four correctional institutions that have reported positive cases of COVID-19. As The Oregonian/OregonLive reported, an outbreak at the prison has seen the number of cases rise, bringing the total among inmates to 18, in a population of nearly 2,000.

“I don’t know of any connection to COVID at the moment,” said Black, adding she didn’t yet know what caused the fight, or how long it lasted.

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©2020 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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