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:

Tuesday September 28, 1999

Elmira locked down to permit facility-wide frisk for contraband

Commissioner Glenn S. Goord today ordered the lockdown of the maximum-security Elmira Correctional Facility so staff could conduct a comprehensive facility-wide frisk for weapons and other contraband.

Commissioner Goord ordered the lockdown following nine inmate-on-inmate assaults at the facility over the past eight days and the subsequent recovery of a number of weapons and other contraband by staff. Several inmates sustained minor injuries in the attacks, including cuts and puncture wounds. None of the injured inmates required outside hospitalization.

There were no inmate assaults on staff during the eight-day period in which the inmate-on-inmate assaults occurred. The causes of the inmate assaults are under investigation.

"To ensure the safety of staff and others, I have ordered the lockdown of Elmira Correctional Facility so Correction Officers can conduct a thorough search of the entire facility for weapons and other contraband," said Commissioner Goord. "I will not tolerate any assault on staff or others by any inmate at any time. Those inmates who chose to engage in violence can be assured that they will face swift and severe disciplinary sanctions at the facility level and, where applicable, criminal charges as well."

The lockdown began shortly after 2 p.m. following the afternoon mess hall run, which was conducted without incident. All 1,839 Elmira inmates will be confined to their cells while Correction Officers search individual cells, all inmates and common areas throughout the facility for weapons and other contraband. Inmates can be escorted by Officers for visits and medical appointments. However, all educational and vocational programming, mess hall runs and industrial programs have been suspended.

The last lockdown at Elmira, which opened in 1876 in the city of Elmira in Chemung County, was from July 26 to August 1, 1997.