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Inmates stabbed in prison brawls

November 24, 2006|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Two inmates at Roxbury Correctional Institution underwent emergency surgery Thursday after being stabbed when simultaneous fights involving about 30 inmates broke out, an RCI spokeswoman said.

Six inmates were injured in the fights. Of the injured, four were taken to Washington County Hospital, including the two who required emergency surgery. Two others were treated in-house, said Denise Gelsinger, public information officer at RCI.

The prison is locked down to prevent disturbances in other housing units and to keep inmates and correctional officers safe, Gelsinger said.

Inmates on three of the four tiers in a housing unit at the medium-security prison began fighting at the same time just after 1 p.m.

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It's not typical to have fights on several tiers at the same time, Gelsinger said.

"To have several fights like that, it would seem to have been planned, but we'll be investigating it," Gelsinger said.

Gelsinger said inmates often will target holidays if they're planning a disturbance because veteran correctional officers usually have those days off. Newer officers often fill holiday shifts, she said.

"That's a reason they might do something," Gelsinger said.

Authorities are trying to determine whether gangs were involved in the fights.

Inmates used homemade knives called shanks and "locks in socks" in the fights, Gelsinger said.

"Locks in socks" is the term used when an inmate puts a lock in a tube sock and swings it, often causing injury, Gelsinger said.

"It makes a very nice bruise upside the head," she said.

Gelsinger said she did not know the names of the injured inmates, their conditions or on which parts of the body they received their injuries.

George Gregory, spokesman for the Maryland Division of Correction, said Thursday he didn't know how long the prison would be locked down. An investigation is ongoing, he said.

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