Prison officials survey Northpoint destruction

By: Wendy Enneking Email
By: Wendy Enneking Email

A Kentucky corrections official said the fact that there weren't more injuries and more devastation in Friday night's prison disturbance and fire at the Northpoint Training Center in Danville is "as close to a miracle as you can get."

Justice and Public Safety Secretary J. Michael Brown joined other corrections officials at the medium security prison Monday afternoon to get a first-hand look at the damage caused when inmates set fires to several buildings. The group surveyed the destruction from the ground and from the sky in a helicopter.

"Everyone did what they were trained to do," said Brown.

During a press conference, Brown praised the prison staff for getting control of the situation in a timely manner.

There were 34 staff members working in the prison which houses some 1,200 inmates when the disturbance began. They quickly received back-up from surrounding police agencies.

Critics have accused the prison of having equipment shortages including radios and flexcuffs as well as inadequate staffing levels. But Brown says there were so many radios that they were actually able to distribute them to outside agencies who came to assist. He also said they had plenty of flexcuffs and that prison staff have undergone extensive training which equipped them to handle this type of event.

The cause of the disturbance is still under investigation but prison officials say the facility had been under lockdown following an incident on Tuesday. That's when a group of Hispanic inmates reportedly attacked a black inmate and white inmate.

In the aftermath of Friday's disturbance, some 700 inmates were transported to public and private facilities across the state. 500 inmates remain at Northpoint and are being house in a dormitory as well as a gym and chapel.

Parole hearings that were to have taken place at Northpoint will be taking place in Marion and Jessamine counties until further notice.


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