200 inmates riot in Warkworth, Canada

Inmates at Warkworth penitentiary took over a portion of the prison and burned anything they could get their hands on. Rioters were heard shouting “burn, baby, burn,” according to Sun Media.

Story from Toronto Sun
Joe Warmington, Pete Fisher and Andrea Houston
22nd July, 2009

An inmate is dead from a suspected drug overdose after prisoners at Warkworth penitentiary took control of a portion of the prison, including its infirmary, in an uprising overnight.

The “disturbance” began at 9 p.m., said Ann Anderson, assistant warden of management services for Warkworth Institution.

No further information on the man, including name, age or the suspected drug taken, is being released until next of kin are notified, Anderson said.

The situation involved 211 inmates, about a third of the prison population, who refused to come in from the recreation yard and reached an internal fence, Anderson said. The remaining inmates were secured in their cells.

All inmates were back in their cells by about 4:10 p.m., Anderson said.

After Warkworth gained control of the facility, 13 inmates were sent to an outside hospital, nine with suspected drug overdoses and four with unrelated medical conditions, Anderson said.

Anderson said a “state of emergency” was called based on the various medications kept in the health centre.

The Riot Act Proclamation was read around 5:50 a.m., meaning the institution could use whatever force necessary to gain control of the situation, Anderson said.

Anderson would not say what, if any, force was used to gain control of the facility.

“The inmates were compliant and came back into their cells with the assistance of our emergency response team (ERT),” she said.

It was a tense scene overnight as corrections staff, armed in riot gear and firing tear gas, tried to regain control of the prison as firefighter and ambulance stood by.

Warkworth ERT as well as ERT teams from Millhaven, Joyceville and Kingston penitentiaries responded, Anderson said. The OPP were on the perimeter.

“(The inmates) got into the hospital area and took control,” said one emergency services worker standing outside the front gate.

Four inmates were transferred to hospital in nearby Campbellford as correctional workers battled to regain control of the prison.

The four were suffering from suspected narcotics overdoses, Anderson said. As of 1 p.m., staff had gained control of all but 50 inmates.

“The medical centre was breached and we now have correctional officers keeping inmates in the yard to prevent another breach,” she said. “There have been no demands from inmates. There will be an investigation as to why.”

“They are burning anything they can get their hands on,” a firefighter on scene said, adding he understands the inmates’ recreation centre may have been torched.

It was a tense scene overnight as corrections staff, armed in riot gear and firing tear gas, tried to regain control of the prison as firefighter and ambulance stood by.

Fires burned throughout the night inside the walls in a yard area from where you could hear inmates cheering and yelling “let it burn.”

The riot squad entered just after 6 a.m.

The institution will remain on lockdown until management is assured it’s safe to return to a normal routine, Anderson said.

The Correctional Service of Canada will be conducting an internal investigation to determine the cause of the incident, including the death in custody, Anderson said.

Warkworth is a medium-security institution that has 568 inmates and 340 staff. No staff were hurt in the takeover.



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