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1 INMATE IS INJURED IN PRISON DISTURBANCE

SHARE 1 INMATE IS INJURED IN PRISON DISTURBANCE

Inmates in a high-security area of the state prison are under strict watch and allowed only underwear and a blanket for comfort, after a disturbance in the section resulted in broken windows and one injury, corrections officials said.

Thursday afternoon two inmates using mop handles and garbage cans began smashing a reinforced glass barrier between a common area for the prisoners and an area where the security control booth is located, Corrections spokesman Dave Franchina said.While one inmate was jumping on top of a television set in the common area, he slipped and cut the back of his arm, requiring several stitches, Franchina said, noting the phone in the common area was also ripped off the wall and several inmates in their cells started breaking reinforced windows to the outside exercise yard.

Franchina identified the injured inmate as David Jolivet, who reportedly is suing the Department of Corrections for opening his legal mail.

When the prison's SWAT team arrived at the scene they tossed a "sting ball" into the common area, which exploded into bright light and fired a mass of rubber pellets, Franchina said.

He said it took about one minute and 45 seconds for the SWAT team to quell the disturbance and medical personnel to start treating injured inmates. Officials said the two inmates who apparently incited the small riot were hit by the stinging rubber pellets and suffered skin welts.

Corrections officials immediately stripped all inmates in the area and searched each cell for weapons and contraband. Although several windows to the outside exercise yard were broken, the inmates were only allowed a blanket and undershorts for the night.

South Point Warden Eldon Barnes said the windows have since been temporarily repaired and inmates are still only allowed the blanket and limited clothing until corrections officials determine the situation has stabilized and inmates have calmed.

The incident occurred in the Uinta unit of the state prison where maximum security prisoners are housed. The 12 inmates allegedly involved in the disturbance are classified as the most difficult to control and housed in an isolated area.

Between the individual cells and the glass barrier is a common area where prisoners are allowed to roam, watch television and use the phone for limited periods of time. The glass barrier that was broken separates the common area from a control booth where a corrections guard is posted.

Barnes said an investigation into how the disturbance started and who was involved is pending.