All Oklahoma prisons remain on lockdown Tuesday as Department of Corrections continues to investigate coordinated, gang-related fights that broke out at six facilities over the weekend, resulting in 36 injuries and one death.
The investigation has yielded numerous seizures of contraband cellphones, weapons and drugs by agency staff, while also shedding new light on what took place, DOC officials said Tuesday.
The fights, which began Saturday, took place at Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center in Vinita; Lawton Correctional Facility; North Fork Correctional Center in Sayre; Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy; Mack Alford Correctional Center in Stringtown; and William S. Key Correctional Center in Fort Supply.
The dead inmate has been identified as Chad Burns, 27, who was serving a 15-year sentence at Conner for convictions of first-degree burglary, robbery, firearms possession and assault with a dangerous weapon out of Tulsa County. Eight of the 36 inmates taken to hospitals for treatment remain hospitalized Tuesday. Several corrections officers also suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Nine of the injured inmates were at Key in Fort Supply. Five were treated at a hospital, and one remained hospitalized. The other four were treated at the prison.
DOC officials said the violence appears to be related to a dispute between two prison gangs, as well as racial tensions. ODOC put every state prison on lockdown after the fights, and said that action has appeared to have stopped the violence from spreading.
The prisons will remain locked down until DOC leadership, its inspector general, Office of Fugitive Apprehension and Investigations agents, and Security Threats Intelligence staff have determined normal operations may resume. In addition, all visitation has been canceled.
“Locking down the entire state was a decision we made to keep inmates and our staff safe,” Interim Director Scott Crow said. “We were faced with a dangerous situation that was rapidly spreading across the state. This is in no way intended to penalize the thousands of state inmates who did not participate in this violence. We thank their families for continuing to be patient with us as we get to the bottom of what happened and bring those responsible to justice. As soon as we believe it is safe to return to normal operations, we will do so efficiently and safely.”
While inmates are locked down, they are kept in their cells. Facility staff bring them food, water and medicine, and provide access to showers.