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:

Friday, July 25, 1997

Warning shot fired at Clinton Correctional Facility

CLINTON - A Correction Officer at Clinton Correctional Facility fired a warning shot from his AR-15 rifle Thursday night to break up a fight among three inmates in the facility's exercise yard.

Two of the inmates involved in the 8 p.m. fight had weapons and ignored verbal orders from staff to cease fighting and drop their weapons. There were 301 inmates in the yard at the time. To prevent the fight from escalating and jeopardizing the safety of the 12 correction officers and other inmates in the yard, a Sergeant ordered a Correction Officer stationed in a yard tower to fire a warning shot into a safe area over the north wall. The inmates then stopped fighting and all inmates complied with verbal orders to lay on the ground.

When the inmates in the yard were ordered to stand to be escorted back to their cells approximately 20 minutes later, a fist fight broke out between two other inmates. Those inmates immediately complied with verbal orders to stop fighting and all 301 inmates then were escorted back to their cells without further incident.

One of the inmates involved in the initial fight sustained minor injuries and was treated at the facility's infirmary. There were no injuries to staff or other inmates. The causes of the fights are under investigation.

Correction officers recovered a sharpened metal rod from one of the inmates involved in the initial fight. They also recovered a shank that the second inmate tossed over the yard fence after the warning shot was fired. All inmates were frisked as they were being returned to their cells and no additional contraband was found.

The inmates involved in the two fights now are in keeplock status, pending disciplinary proceedings. That means they are confined to their cells for 23 hours a day, with one hour of court-mandated recreation.

Clinton, a maximum-security prison in Clinton County, opened in 1845. It currently houses 2,935 inmates.