Jessup prison in lockdown after inmates' apparently coordinated attacks on officers


Inmates at the Maryland House of Correction in Jessup remained in lockdown status yesterday after simultaneous assaults on three officers Saturday night.

The incident began about 9:20 p.m. as two corrections officers closed down the gymnasium, said Capt. Priscilla Doggett, a prison spokeswoman. An inmate sneaked behind one of the officers and struck him on the head, she said, then pulled out a shank and grabbed a female officer by the collar.

The female officer escaped, Doggett said, and her calls for help drew officers from other areas of the prison to help subdue the inmate and recover his homemade knife.

An officer who was left alone in the prison's segregation unit when his partner responded to the call for help from the gym was attacked by two inmates, Doggett said. They were also restrained, but not before the segregation unit officer was cut on the head, thigh and elbow with a sharp-edged weapon.

The officer who was struck in the head in the gym was treated and released from a local hospital, authorities said; the other injured officer was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center for treatment for superficial wounds and was released yesterday. The female officer did not require treatment.

No decision has been made about when the lockdown will end, Doggett said.

Lt. Bernard W. Ralph Jr., president of Local 1678 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said the incident "was apparently a planned event."

"It was a scheme. This is what inmates do, this is what convicted felons do," Ralph said. "Additional staffing would perhaps have prevented this from escalating to the point that it did. But one would have to realize that ... they're not in prison for missing Sunday school."

Doggett said that an internal investigation into the incident has been launched, including weapons and contraband searches throughout the prison.

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