BURGIN, Ky. (AP) - Four prisoners remained hospitalized and
hundreds of others had to be relocated Saturday after rioting
inmates set their central Kentucky prison on fire.
Flames shot into the air during the melee Friday night,
seriously damaging several buildings, and parts of the
medium-security Northpoint Training Center continued to smolder
nearly 24 hours later.
The 500 inmates who remained at the prison 30 miles south of
Lexington were being compliant, said Jennifer Brislin, spokeswoman
for the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.
About 700 others were being taken to other facilities across the
state. In some cases that meant inmates were double-bunking or
sleeping in gyms or other secure buildings inside prisons.
Officials would not say what caused the rioting, which injured
eight staff members and eight prisoners. None of the injured
staffers were hospitalized, said Cheryl Million, a spokeswoman for
the Kentucky Department of Corrections. Authorities would not
provide conditions for the inmates still being treated.
Those who remained at Northpoint were getting food and medical
care from temporary stations because the fire destroyed six
buildings, including a kitchen, medical center, canteen and
visitation area. They were to be moved into a 196-bed dormitory
that remained habitable, as well as a unit of single cells.
The disturbance started Friday evening when prisoners set fire
to trash cans and other items inside and outside the prison. All
fires were contained by 4 p.m. EDT Saturday, Brislin said.
Officers in riot gear had rushed in with tear gas about 9 p.m.
Friday, and all the inmates were subdued within two hours,
Gov. Steve Beshear praised corrections officials and state
police for handling the situation without any serious injuries.
"Their work last night in the face of the most trying
circumstances was truly remarkable," Beshear said in a statement
Local and state police formed a perimeter around the outside of
the facility to make sure no one escaped.
Prison spokeswoman Mendolyn Cochran had told The
Advocate-Messenger of Danville the facility had been on lockdown
since Tuesday, when a group of inmates assaulted two others.
Million would only say that some inmates had access to matches
because smoking is allowed in parts of the prison.
The melee came two weeks after more than 1,000 inmates rioted at
the California Institution for Men in Southern California. The
prison was designed to hold about half as many inmates, although
investigators say they don't know if crowding helped spark the
racially charged riot.
Northpoint had more than 1,100 general population inmates housed
in six open-bay dormitories, according to its Web site. Another 60
special management inmates were housed in single cells in a
separate structure, and 40 minimum-security inmates in another
It opened in 1983 and has a staff of 285.
Associated Press Writer Janet Cappiello Blake in Louisville,
Ky., contributed to this report.