Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor
Brian Fischer, Commissioner (DOCCS)

DOCCS Contact: Peter K. Cutler, 518-457-8182

Monday, October 22, 2012

Inmate Fight, Assault on Staff and Use of Chemical Agents
Prompt Lockdown at Five Points Correctional Facility in Seneca County

ROMULUS - Commissioner Brian Fischer late Sunday ordered the lockdown of the 1,442 inmates incarcerated at the Five Points Correctional Facility after staff was forced to use chemical agents to stop inmates from assaulting Correction Officers who responded to a five-man fight in the yard.

"This incident demonstrates graphically how quickly a minor incident can potentially lead to greater problems for our security staff," said Commissioner Fischer. "Fortunately the security staff at Five Points responded with great professionalism and did exactly what they're trained to do. The perpetrators of this intolerable violence will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of our Department's regulations and we will also refer the matter to the State Police for investigation, which could lead to criminal prosecution for each of the inmates involved."

Shortly after 9:00 PM, with the yard occupied by 126 inmates, staff observed a small handful of inmates assault one inmate and then quickly disbursed upon notice of the staff presence. As staff attempted to identify and take custody of the inmates, the inmates began to assault staff resulting in the tower officer discharging one chemical agent munition into the area. Inmates immediately complied with orders to lay on the ground and the staff secured the yard, finding no weapons.

Following the incident, inmates and staff who were exposed to the chemical agent were decontaminated. Two of the six Correction Officers who went by state vehicle to the Cayuga Medical Center received treatment – one for a broken hand, the other receiving three stitches to the eye area. A total of eight inmates were immediately transferred from Five Points to Southport and Elmira correctional facilities.

The facility-wide lockdown of Five Points requires inmates to remain in their cells, it suspends normal programming, and requires the search of cells and common areas. The lockdown is expected to last approximately five days and will allow staff to thoroughly investigate the incident.

All inmates identified as participants will face disciplinary charges.

The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) is responsible for the care, custody and treatment of individuals sentenced to state prison and for working with them to ensure their successful re-entry into the community. The Department operates 60 correctional facilities (including the Willard Drug Treatment Campus and the Edgecombe Residential Drug Treatment facility) and oversees 38 community supervision (parole) field offices across the state. DOCCS currently provides care, custody and supervision of approximately 94,000 individuals: 56,000 in custody in correctional and drug treatment facilities and 38,000 under post-release community supervision.