State lawmakers have heard about some of the problems that led to the Tecumseh prison riot on Mother’s Day.
State Ombudsman Marshall Lux didn’t soft-pedal what happened at Tecumseh.
“At times we’ve heard the department refer to the situation out at Tecumseh on May 10th as an event or an incident. Let me be clear about this senators, this was a riot by any reasonable definition of the term,” Lux told a special legislative committee holding hearings at the Capitol.
Lux outlined contents of his report on the riot during the hearing.
He said it began as a peaceful protest by a few inmates upset about changes in prison policy which restricted access to the prison yard as well as participation in various activities, including recreational activities.
Lux speculates the protestors hoped to submit a petition to management at Tecumseh outlining their grievances. Other inmates, not part of the protest, took advantage of confusion in the yard and assaulted guards. The riot started.
Once over, two inmates had been killed. Other inmates and guards suffered injuries. Property was destroyed.
Tecumseh was in lock down immediately afterward and has remained in modified lock down since.
State Corrections Director Scott Frakes acknowledged staff and management have been worn down by months of mandatory overtime, but asserted Tecumseh will recover.
“I am still optimistic about our ability to bring the facility back to where it needs to be,” Frakes told lawmakers. “In fact, I’ll say that a little stronger. We’re going to bring the facility back to where it needs to be and then we’re going to move it forward and turn it into the prison that it can be.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]