Several hundred inmates smashed and barricaded themselves in four dormitories at Holmes Correctional Institution on Wednesday evening, the Department of Corrections confirmed.
The facility, located in Holmes County in Florida’s Panhandle, remains on lockdown, according to a statement released by FDC shortly after noon Thursday. One inmate was injured but no corrections officers were hurt, the statement said.
The department did not say when it happened, what precipitated it, how long it took to bring it under control or how much damage occurred.
“The Department is currently accessing the facility for any damages that have resulted and have transported all the involved inmates to other locations. Additional information will be made available following a comprehensive after action review and investigation,’’ the statement concluded.
The riot is the latest in a series of disturbances that have plagued the agency since January. Many institutions are at minimum staffing levels because of a shortage of corrections officers statewide.
Kim Schultz, president of the union representing the department’s officers, called the situation “extremely dangerous.’’ She said the agency has been reaching out to other police and sheriff’s departments to be on alert because of tensions that have been building across the state over inmate abuse, poor medical care and a surge in violent gang activity.
“The biggest concern we have is what are they are going to do in small areas when you have three people in a police department? There is no way if something happens that they have the manpower to control it,’’ Schultz said.
In recent weeks, the department has quelled disturbances at Jackson Correctional, Gulf Correctional, Franklin Correctional and Oskaloosa CI. All of them are located in Region 1, in the Panhandle.
The latest incident comes on the eve of a nationwide prison protest scheduled for Friday, Sept. 9, the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison riots in New York. Grassroots groups across the country have been organizing strikes to protest inhumane treatment, civil rights abuses and working conditions.
Thus far, it’s not known how organized the movement is in Florida, which, over the past two years, has had a record number of inmate deaths and uses of excessive force by inmates and corrections officers.