Monday, May 11, 2015

This is what the Nebraska Dept. of Corrections described as several 'small fires'

Photo: WOWT viewer, via the station's news broadcast
Nebraska Department of Corrections spokesman James Foster provided what was at least a very sanitized description and at most a blatant lie in his email about Sunday's prisoner insurrection:
"Staff at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution noticed a large gathering of inmates in front of a housing unit. As staff reported to the area to break up the gathering, two staff members were assaulted, and one inmate was injured. ... Following this incident, there were several other incidents which took place in multiple housing units, resulting in small fires and damage to property."
     WOWT called the Department of Corrections' description of the fires "questionable" and added:
"We have been in touch with Gov. Pete Rickett's office tonight about this. Ten hours into this now we've received absolutely no response.
     Catharine Huddle, JoAnne Young and Casey Welsch of  the Lincoln Journal Star reported that late Sunday night — obviously several hours after the above photograph was taken — smoke rose from two housing units and that inmates had been in control "for a while."
     Jeffry Frank, an inmate, talked to the Journal Star from a case manager's office in one of the prison's three housing units.
     "The ceilings are fallen. There's drywall on fire. There's cameras torn down."
     "We've pretty much taken the whole prison," Frank said in a phone call to the Journal Star at about 9 p.m. "Guards have already shot three guys for no reason."
     Inmate Daryl Eskridge said the disturbance broke out after repeated attempts to get prison officials to address grievances.
     "This is not a white thing, a black thing," Eskridge said in the phone call from the housing unit. "This is a people thing.
     "We understand this is a prison, but we have been subjected to a lot of things the department doesn't want people to see."
     He said inmates intended to give Corrections Director Scott Frakes a copy of a petition, and then things went wrong.
     "They came with the force," he said. "Nobody (inmates) had any weapons."
     ...Frank said one of the reasons for the uprising was inadequate access to the prison yard and jobs.
     "We wanted the yard open," he said. "Lots of the lifers aren't happy they can't get jobs. We're harassed by staff. The living conditions are terrible. There's one whole wing that is absolutely unlivable."
     Prison disturbances also took place Saturday in the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln, now under lockdown, where 1309 inmates occupy a facility designed to accommodate 718.

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