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, January 8, 2003

Coxsackie prison locked down for frisk after inmate fights, weapons possession

Coxsackie Correctional Facility was locked down this morning for a facility-wide search for contraband that will continue for 3-4 days, Commissioner Glenn S. Goord said today, following a spate of inmate-on-inmate fights and staff seizure of homemade weapons over the past several days.

"In order to ensure the safety of staff and inmates alike, Coxsackie staff are conducting a facility-wide search of inmate cells and common areas such as mess halls and yards," Commissioner Goord said. "I will not tolerate inmate assaults on staff or other inmates. We will not allow inmates to possess weapons of any sort in our prisons. Those inmates found guilty of assaulting others and possessing weapons will be dealt with swiftly and severely, facing both Departmental sanctions and criminal charges."

The lock down began at 8:40 a.m. following three inmate-on-inmate fights since Sunday and the recent discovery of weapons in inmate cells. There also have been several minor fistfights among inmates over the past several days, two of which occurred last night. No staff members were injured in any of the incidents.

Two of the inmates who were assaulted in separate incidents on Sunday and Tuesday sustained facial lacerations that were treated at the facility infirmary. No weapons were recovered and no alleged assailants have yet been identified in either of those incidents.

An inmate who was assaulted in an outdoor recreation yard Monday night was treated at and released from Albany Medical Center for facial lacerations. Correction Officers recovered a razor in the recreation yard following the Monday night assault. No one has yet been charged in connection with that incident.

During a routine general confinement cell frisk on Sunday, an Officer discovered a partially-taped half of a tin can lid hidden in a cigarette pack that lay atop an inmate's locker. As the inmate was being frisked in the disciplinary housing unit before being confined there, a razor blade fell out of his underwear.

Also on Sunday, an Officer searching another general confinement cell discovered a sharpened piece of metal inside a cardboard sheath underneath an inmate's mattress. The inmate assigned to that cell also is in disciplinary housing and faces Departmental and possible criminal charges.

Commissioner Goord lauded the work of the two Officers who discovered the weapons in the cells during the Sunday search. "Thanks to their professionalism and diligence, additional assaults and injuries, perhaps to staff as well as to inmates, were likely averted," he said.

This the first lockdown at the maximum-security facility in Greene County since June 2000. All 1,012 Coxsackie inmates will be confined to their cells for the duration of the lockdown, except for those escorted by Officers for approved legal and personal visits as well as for medical appointments.