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USDB corrections officers help end major disturbance.

Johnnie H. Smith, Theonis S. Brown and Robert G. Super, correctional sergeants at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., each faced angry inmates and dangerous conditions during a May 1992 disturbance and took steps to prevent a full-scale riot.

The disturbance began May 11 at 9 p.m., when nine medium security inmates began fighting. Within minutes, five inmates were injured. USDB corrections officers, led by Smith, quickly stopped the fight, provided first aid to injured inmates and evacuated the most seriously injured to the local Army hospital.

Two hundred inmates in the cell block were ordered to lock down immediately after the fight occurred and 58 inmates from another unit refused to return to their cells. As Smith tried to identify which inmates were leading the refusal, the inmates threatened and surrounded him. Reinforcements arrived, helped Smith regain control, and at 4:15 a.m. inmates re-entered their cells.

During recreation call the following evening, more than 300 inmates gathered and began planning another disruption. Aware that many of the inmates had histories of violence, Super, without regard for his own personal safety, entered the recreation yard and dispersed the crowd. The inmates then returned to their wings.

However, at 9:30 p.m., more than 600 medium security inmates in three wings refused to lock down and 300 minimum security inmates in two buildings adjacent to the main prison building refused to stand for a count. The inmates from one of these buildings occupied the prison's central courtyard.

After a three-hour standoff, inmates in two of the medium security wings began destroying furniture, video monitors and alarm equipment and armed themselves with homemade knives and other weapons. Unarmed staff remained in the wings and tried to restore order. The inmates barricaded sections of the wings while the corrections officers prepared for the retaking of the prison by force.

Just before midnight, inmates looking for weapons broke into the cafeteria, which was occupied by staff members. With little time to get out, Brown - the shift leader - quickly organized his co-workers to move knives and other potential weapons to a secure location.

As the inmates began entering the cafeteria, Brown locked himself and his staff in a back office of the building. Due to his quick actions, the inmates' search for weapons was fruitless.

Several hours later, other corrections officers safely evacuated Brown and his staff. The disturbance was brought under control - with no fatalities - in the early morning hours of May 13.

For their bravery during the disturbance, Smith, Brown and Super received the Army's 1992 Meritorious Service Medal and the Kansas Correctional Association's 1992 Valor Award.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Correctional Association, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:United States Disciplinary Barracks
Author:Stahl, Alan B.
Publication:Corrections Today
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Words:441
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