Inmates at a mid-Michigan prison are on lockdown after gang related fighting.
Multiple fights broke out over the course of several days. They started Thursday, and occurred multiple times on Sunday during meals and finally on the prison yard on Monday. The facility has been on lockdown since Monday at lunchtime. Lockdown means inmates don’t have any privileges and are confined to their cells.
Chris Gautz is a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Corrections. He said more than 30 prisoners fought over control of pay phones and terminals inmates use to send and receive e-mails.
“I don’t want to give the impression that there was a line of prisoners standing in front of the phones and our officers didn’t see it,” he said. “Saying like, ‘Oh you’re not in our group you can’t use the phone.’ It was much more subtle. It was behind the scenes.”
Gautz said the prison will phase out of the lockdown over the course of the next week.
“But we’re not going to do so quickly,” he said. “And we’re not going to do so until we feel that the safety and order of the facility can be maintained.”
About 20 inmates have been transferred. Others are waiting for hearings. The plan is to separate members of the gangs to dilute their power.
“We don’t want a group of prisoners feeling that they can have power and authority inside the walls,” Gautz said.