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:

Monday June 11, 2001

Auburn Correctional Facility locked down for facility-wide search

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

Commissioner Goord's decision comes on the heels of two separate inmate-on-inmate assaults last night in the recreation yard yesterday involving a total of four inmates. One inmate sustained a broken left arm during a two-man fistfight at 9:10 p.m.; he was treated at SUNY Health and Science Center and later returned to the facility. Moments later, an inmate was slashed on the side of his face with a box cutter by an unknown assailant. The injured inmate received 24 sutures.

A few other inmate fistfights also broke out in the yard following the second incident, none of which involved any injuries. There were approximately 350 inmates in the yard at the time.

Additionally, security staff have recovered some weapons - including metal and plexiglass shanks - from various common areas at the prison over the past 10 days.

"In order to ensure the safety of our employees and others, I have today ordered the lockdown of Auburn to free up the staff needed to conduct a comprehensive facility-wide search for weapons and other contraband," said Commissioner Goord. "I will not tolerate any inmate assaults at any time and will take whatever steps necessary to ensure the security of all our facilities."

Commissioner Goord said he made his decision based upon last week's discovery of several inmate weapons, combined with the recent altercations. He said, "By themselves, the discovery of weapons in a maximum-security prison was not sufficient to order a lockdown. However, combined with the recent assaults, I believe the lockdown is an appropriate response to current inmate behavior."

The three inmates identified as having participated in the two Sunday assaults currently are being housed in Auburn's Special Housing Unit (SHU) and face disciplinary sanctions.

The lockdown began at 6:30 a.m. and is expected to last until at least the weekend. It means that all of Auburn's 1,764 inmates will be confined to their cells while staff search individual cells and common areas for weapons and other contraband. Inmates still can be escorted from their cells by Correction Officers for visits and necessary medical appointments.

Auburn, a maximum-security prison located in Cayuga County, opened in 1817. The last lockdown at Auburn was from June 13-20, 2000.