A group of 47 inmates in Massachusetts armed with clubs and iron bars started a riot inside one of the units in the state’s maximum security prison for three hours Monday, according to state officials.
Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett said that no one was hurt during the riot, which started as a fist fight between two inmates that spiraled out of control at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, the Boston Globe reported.
“They were getting ready for war,” Bennett said. “They were going to go after the COs.”
Corrections officers were pulled from the unit when inmates started destroying it for three hours.
The inmates started breaking down tables and using the metal legs as clubs, smashing computers in the guards’ area, breaking security cameras, and grabbing fire extinguishers.
After three hours, guards wearing gas masks entered the unit and injected pepper spray into the unit.
“The pepper spray was significant enough that the inmates started to give themselves up in groups of five at a time, groups of one a time, until finally they all gave up, all 47 of them,” Bennett said.
Authorities say some of the prisoners may face criminal charges or disciplinary sanctions and that some of the inmates involved are first and second degree murderers.
Photos after the incident reveal the damage: “sections of the ceiling destroyed, sprinkler systems ruined, computers and cameras smashed apart, trash scattered, glass shattered, empty cells, burn marks on the floors, chairs overturned and the weapons recovered.” Authorities say the unit is a total loss.
Inmates who lived in the unit were moved to other wings while those who were actively involved in the riot were moved to other facilities that have segregation space, WBZ reported.