January 11, 2017

Baker hails correctional officers’ response, lack of major injuries, in wake of prison riot at Souza-Baranowski

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Mass. Department of Correction / State House News Service

A cell at Souza-Baranowski maximum security prison in Shirley.

About 50 inmates rioting Monday at the state’s maximum security prison in Shirley prepared themselves for “war” against the facility’s correctional officers before they were subdued by those officers using dogs and pepper spray, the state’s top public safety official said.

The approach taken by prison officials at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center was successful in preventing any serious injuries or death.

“There were some minor injuries, nothing serious, and I commend everybody for maintaining their cool, following their protocol and doing the things they needed to do to make sure that nobody got hurt,” Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters Tuesday, Jan. 10.

“We can always replace damaged furniture and stuff like that. It’s much harder to deal with situations and circumstances in which someone gets hurt.”

Public Safety and Security Secretary Dan Bennett said that after rebelling against orders to return to their cells, inmates at the prison fashioned furniture, computers and safety equipment into weapons to be used against correctional officers (COs), and disarmed security cameras.

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