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Inmates Attempt Prison Escape

September 1, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A group of handcuffed and shackled inmates managed to free themselves before attempting to escape as they were transferred to another corrections facility, prison officials said.

The 18 prisoners had headed by bus to the District of Columbia complex Monday night after creating a disturbance at the Lorton prison in suburban Fairfax County, Va.

The inmates had freed themselves from their constraints by the time they reached the district jail, said Lorton spokesman Bill Meeks.

``They bolted out of the prison bus once the doors opened,″ and tried to scale the perimeter wall of the jail, Meeks said.

None made it over and several were injured by the razor wire on top of the wall.

The inmates were taken into custody by corrections officers. Fire and rescue officials reported five inmates were taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Meeks said two guards also were slightly injured in the incident.

Local corrections officials, along with the U.S. Marshals Service, were trying to determine how the inmates freed themselves.

``We suspect the inmates had access to a handcuff key ... however that has not been located at this time,″ Meeks said.

Earlier Monday, two guards were stabbed while trying to remove an inmate from his cell at Lorton’s maximum security unit. The incident occurred while guards tried to evacuate the cell block because of a fire and damaged plumbing. The FBI is investigating the incident.

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