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:

Thursday, February 26, 1998

Downstate Correctional Facility locked down for facility-wide frisk

FISHKILL - Commissioner Glenn S. Goord this morning ordered the lockdown of the Downstate Correctional Facility so staff could conduct a facility-wide search for contraband.

Commissioner Goord ordered the lockdown after an inmate attacked a Correction Officer with a razor-type weapon at 10:26 a.m. in the keeplock recreation yard. The Officer was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie for treatment of a 2-inch laceration to his forehead. The injury is not life threatening.

"We will not tolerate any assault on staff by any inmate," said Commissioner Goord. "To ensure the safety of staff and other inmates, I have ordered that Downstate be locked down so staff can conduct a comprehensive, facility-wide search for weapons and other contraband."

Commissioner Goord said the inmate alleged to have attacked the Officer, Lamar Jackson, faces disciplinary and likely criminal charges. The inmate now is being held in Downstate's Special Housing Unit. The incident is being investigated by the Department's Inspector General's Office and New York State Police.

The lockdown is expected to last through the weekend. It means all inmates will be confined to their cells while Officers search individual cells and common areas for contraband. Inmates can be escorted by Correction Officers for visits and medical appointments.

There were four other inmates in the keeplock recreation yard when the incident occurred, none of whom were involved in the incident. After allegedly being cut by Jackson, the Officer activated his personal alarm system for assistance. Four other Officers responded to the scene, subdued Jackson and recovered the weapon believed to have been used in the attack.

Jackson was in keeplock status because of various disciplinary infractions including fighting, threats, creating a disturbance and refusing a direct order. Keeplock inmates are confined to their cells 23 hours a day, with one hour of court-mandated recreation.

Jackson, 17, is serving a term of 20 years to life for two 1997 convictions out of Suffolk County - second-degree murder and first-degree rape. He was received into the maximum-security Downstate prison on Oct. 31, 1997, and is not eligible for parole until Oct. 18, 2016.

The last lockdown at Downstate was in 1979, the year the facility opened. Downstate currently houses 1,279 of the 69,533 inmates in the state prison system.