Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Correctional Services
Glenn S. Goord, Commissioner

Office of Public Information
[518] 457-8182

For immediate release:

Wednesday, October 8, 1997

Warning shot fired at Great Meadow Correctional Facility

COMSTOCK - A Correction Officer at Great Meadow Correctional Facility fired a warning shot from his AR-15 rifle Wednesday afternoon to break up a fight among 48 inmates in the facility's recreation yard.

A fight involving two inmates broke out in the yard at 1:54 p.m. There were 300 inmates in the yard at the time. The two inmates displayed weapons and ignored verbal commands from staff to stop fighting. An additional 46 inmates, some brandishing weapons, then joined in the fight. To prevent the fight from escalating further and jeopardizing the safety of other inmates and the six Correction Officers in the yard at the time, a Correction Officer stationed in a yard tower fired a warning shot into a safe area near the scene of the disturbance. All inmates then compiled with orders to lay on the ground.

The 252 inmates who were in the yard at the time of the fight but did not participate in it were escorted back to their cells by Correction Officers. The two initial combatants were taken to the facility's infirmary, where they were treated for minor injuries that included abrasions and scratches. The other 46 inmates who were involved in the fight were placed in restraints and escorted from the yard into a processing area at the facility. There, they will be searched for weapons and examined for injuries.

It is now yet known how many of the 46 inmates sustained injuries. There were no injuries to staff as a direct result of the fight but a Correction Officer was kicked in the leg by one of the two inmates involved in the initial fight as he was being escorted from the yard. The Officer remained on duty.

Correction Officers have recovered a razor-type weapon from one of the two inmates involved in the initial fight. The recreation yard will be closed for the remainder of the day so staff can conduct a search for additional contraband. The remainder of the facility is operating on a regular schedule.

Great Meadow, a maximum-security in Washington County, opened in 1911. It currently houses 1,657 inmates.