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Prison Locked Down After Inmates Refuse To Return To Cells

May 16, 1990

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) _ About 500 inmates at the Maryland Correctional Institution returned voluntarily to their cells Tuesday night after refusing to leave a courtyard during an eight-hour standoff, officials said.

Greg Shipley, a corrections division spokesman, said prisoners began returning to their cells shortly before 10 p.m.

Earlier, state police who had been waiting outside the prison were seen entering the grounds about 9 p.m. Shouts could be heard from prison cellblocks, but activities inside the prison could not be confirmed.

The prison was locked down after about 500 inmates gathered in a yard during a recreation period and refused to return to their cells about at 2 p.m., said Greg Shipley, a corrections division spokesman.

″They are simply milling about in the middle of the courtyard,″ Shipley said earlier. ″At this point, we don’t know what they want.″

After a brief scuffle, three guards were taken to a hospital for treatment of bruises and then returned to the prison, he said.

Shipley said overcrowding was not determined to be the cause of the disturbance. The prison’s designed capacity is 1,086 inmates, based on one inmate per cell. Tuesday’s count was 1,657 inmates.

Additional correctional officers and about 65 state troopers and six canine units were called in as a precaution, Shipley said.

The Maryland Correctional Institution is located about five miles south of Hagerstown.The medium-security prison was opened in 1931 as the Maryland Penal Farm.

Two housing units have been added to the prison since 1980 - a 128-bed facility in 1980 and second emergency housing unit of 420 bed in 1983.

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