CLALLAM BAY — Most of Clallam Bay Corrections Center was taken off lockdown Thursday afternoon following a Wednesday evening brawl among 81 inmates that was stopped by seven warning shots, agency spokesman Jeremy Barclay said.
“I would say it’s not on lockdown but on very restricted movement,” he said.
The inmates who were involved in the fracas remained on 24-hour lockdown, Barclay said, while the remaining inmates were on “very restricted movement.”
The fracas in the yard at the prison of about 825 inmates happened at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, he said.
After inmates ignored verbal warnings, corrections officers waded into the melee deploying pepper spray, Barclay said.
After that failed to quell the disturbance, at least two corrections officers fired seven shots.
“That brought them under control,” Barclay said.
An earlier report from the corrections center had put the number at one warning shot.
Barclay said five inmates were transported off-site for treatment of injuries.
He said four inmates were returned to the prison as of Thursday morning without suffering serious harm.
A fifth inmate with a broken jaw was released from a hospital and transferred to another state corrections facility, Barclay said.
No officers were injured.
There was no indication that the disturbance involved more than hand-to-hand combat or use of any weapons, Barclay said.
Inmate visitation was cancelled for at at least today and Saturday into the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
A decision on Sunday visitation will be made this morning, Barclay said.
“They are on lockdown while we begin investigating the cause and making sure that nothing begins a new disturbance,” he said. “We want to make sure that calm is preserved.”
Barclay said the lockdown, in which inmates are confined to their cells 24 hours a day, will be eased slowly.
“It’s a cooling-down period, where people’s tempers and their hot moods can slowly cool so that we can then engage with them further and can begin to interview those who were part of it, and can slowly, eventually, return to normal operation, especially for the over 90 percent of the population that was not involved in it,” Barclay said.
“That’s something we can cautiously enter into as the hours progress.”
Barclay did not know if the fight grew out of a previous altercation.
“That will be part of the investigation and our questioning,” he said.
Clallam Bay “does hold those who are more of medium-maximum custody” inmates, he said.
“There’s always tension in a prison,” he added.
“We will be doing an investigation to learn the cause of this and to develop a strategy on how to defuse this in the long term.”
Clallam Bay went into “restricted movement” mode April 23 after a brawl involving about 20 inmates, Barclay told Peninsula Daily News on April 26.
Restricted movement means that visitation is restricted and that prison operations continue in a “much more contained and controlled environment,”he said.
The fracas stopped short of Wednesday night’s ruckus.
“Verbal commands to cease fighting were not heeded,” Barclay said April 26.
“Pepper spray was discharged. Then it dissipated immediately thereafter.”
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].