DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION EMPTIES DEPARTMENT DISCIPLINARY UNIT
TO EVALUATE MOST RECENT DOOR MALFUNCTION
All totaled, 106 DDU inmates and 56 10 Block inmates were relocated as follows:
-- 29 10 Block inmates relocated to the Special Management Unit (SMU) at MCI Norfolk
-- 27 10 Block inmates relocated to the SMU at Souza Baranowski Correctional Center
-- 59 DDU inmates relocated to the 10 Block at MCI Cedar Junction
-- 13 DDU inmates relocated to the 9 Block at MCI Cedar Junction
-- 33 DDU inmates relocated to the SMU at Souza Baranowski Correctional Center
-- 1 DDU inmate relocated to the Health Services Unit at MCI Cedar Junction
At approximately 7:05pm last evening, a Lieutenant in the DDU reported that a cell door in the unit spontaneously opened and the inmate inside the cell came out into the corridor. At the time, two Correction Officers were on the tier. Those Officers exited the tier without incident and within a couple of minutes, the inmate voluntarily returned to his cell and staff re-secured the door. Later in the evening, the Shift Commander reported that two tier exit doors also spontaneously opened, however, no inmates where out of their cells at the time.
Historically, there have been three types of incidents resulting in door problems in the DDU; mechanical malfunctions, electrical malfunctions and operator or staff error.
Mechanical malfunctions have occurred due to wear and tear on doors and tracks resulting in inmates being able to manipulate a door open. Electrical malfunctions have included situations where doors have failed to open and have had to be manually overridden. There have also been incidents of operator or staff error in which erroneous doors were opened or more than one door was opened at one time. In each of these situations, the problem was identified and a solution to remedy the issue was developed and implemented.
What distinguishes last night's incidents from the others is that at this point, the DOC is unable to determine a cause for the doors opening. "In the interest of staff safety and public safety, it is imperative that the DDU be closed until the problem can be identified and a solution implemented", said Commissioner Dennehy. As such, at approximately 7:30pm last evening, Commissioner Dennehy directed that a plan be developed and executed to relocate the 106 inmates currently housed in the DDU.
At approximately 10:45pm, the Department's Special Operations Unit was activated, bringing 56 members of the Tactical Response Team and 22 members of the High Risk Transportation Team to MCI Cedar Junction to carry out the relocation mission.
At approximately 3:45am, these officers began the process of relocating inmates from the DDU and from the 10 Block at MCI Cedar Junction. The mission concluded at 11:50am. There were three minor incidents between inmates which occurred either just prior to or while being transported, however, each incident was handled by the transporting staff. This mission was completed according to plan.
The DDU will remain closed until such time as the problem is solved. This matter is currently under investigation and the DOC is bringing in a consultant to assist in troubleshooting the issue.
All visits and programs at MCI Cedar Junction have been suspended and the facility remains locked down.
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