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Roxbury spokesman says Thanksgiving fights likely planned

November 30, 1999|By PEPPER BALLARD

Simultaneous fights that erupted at Roxbury Correctional Institution on Thanksgiving ? sending two inmates into emergency surgery ? likely were planned, Capt. Mark Martin, a prison spokesman, said Friday.

Martin said two separate investigations into the reported 12:40 p.m. fights will help determine whether gang activity was behind the attacks, which caused injuries to six inmates.

The medium-security prison south of Hagerstown will remain locked down through at least Monday, when prison administrators will re-evaluate the situation, Martin said.

Prisoners were being fed in their cells, and were not allowed to have visitors or participate in extracurricular activities, Martin said.

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The Thanksgiving fights occurred after prisoners were let out of their tiers and into their respective recreation halls, he said.

"We've gotten a lot of phone calls from families," Martin said. "Everybody hears about it on the news, and with 2,000 inmates, we've gotten about 2,000 phone calls."

Martin said the six inmates who were injured were either stabbed with homemade shanks ? pieces of sharpened metal ? or bruised by "locks in socks" ? locks dropped into tube socks.

"All of the inmates sustained multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma ? some had it more severe than others," Martin said.

Of the four inmates who were taken to Washington County Hospital, two were treated and sent back to the prison, and two underwent emergency surgery, Martin said.

One of the more seriously injured inmates was expected to be released from the hospital Friday. The other inmate remained at the hospital Friday with nonlife-threatening injuries.

Two prisoners were treated at the prison's infirmary, Martin said.

Prisoners with "direct involvement" in the fights were placed in segregation, he said.

An in-house investigation unit was conducting a criminal investigation, and a prison system investigative unit was conducting its own investigation into the fights, which occurred on three of the four tiers in a housing unit at the medium-security prison south of Hagerstown.

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