Prison on lockdown

YOUNGSTOWN – The Northeast Ohio Correctional Center remained on lockdown early this morning after inmates started what has been both described as a ”riot” and a ”disturbance.”

“The Northeast Ohio Correctional Center is currently on lockdown status as a precautionary measure after a group of inmates on the smaller recreation yard refused orders to return to their cells,” Quality Assurance Manager Candace Rivera stated in a news release Tuesday evening.

“All staff and inmates are accounted for and facility management is communicating with the inmates to resolve the matter peacefully. There have been no incidents of violence. The facility is secured and the community is not in danger,” she said. She did not return calls and emails for updates.

A Tribune Chronicle reporter on the scene Tuesday night was kept across the street with other news reporters. Various vehicles went in and out of the low-security federal prison on the city’s East Side.

An unconfirmed source told Tribune Chronicle news partner WYTV 33 News that the episode began about 10 a.m. Tuesday when a group of prisoners threatened to kill a female guard. The guard was escorted out of the prison for her safety.

The source told 33 News that 20 and 30 prisoners remained in a recreation area, refusing to return to their cells. Their complaints centered on food and the treatment of inmates by guards, according to the source.

Prison officials declined to confirm or deny the information, saying only the site was secure, there was no violence, and talks were ongoing to resolve the standoff.

The privately owned facility on Hubbard Road houses male inmates for the U.S. Marshals Service. According to website of the Corrections Corporation of America, who has owned and maintains the facility since 1997, the prison is low-security and holds 2,016 beds.

In June the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio called for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to end its contract with CCA to house immigration detainees.

This came after the group reported that the for-profit prisons “create dangerous atmospheres with a severe lack of oversight and do little to encourage rehabilitation.”