At least six corrections officers were injured Sunday while attempting to break up scuffles outside a dormitory at Lorton Reformatory's Central prison facility, a spokesman for the D.C. Department of Corrections confirmed yesterday.
Department spokesman Leroy Anderson said that the incident involved inmates transferred to Central from Youth Center No. 1, which was evacuated in December because of methane gas explosions that fatally burned one inmate and seriously injured another.
Anderson said the incident occurred when about 20 inmates who were preparing to go to dinner rebelled when they were ordered instead to return to their dormitory.
At least six officers were injured during the "scuffles" that ensued, Anderson said. The most seriously injured, he said, appears to have been an officer who required an undetermined number of stitches for lacerations on the head and face.
Anderson said that no inmates were injured.
Eight inmates involved in the incident were transferred to the general population cellblocks at Lorton's maximum security facility, he said.
"Things like this happen in a prison every day," Anderson said. "It was sort of a spontaneous thing. It wasn't a planned thing or a riot."
However, Hugh (Rusty) Hassan, spokesman for the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1550, which represents corrections officers, said, "Any incident that involves injury to one of our officers is serious. There was no danger to the surrounding community, but it was something that really raises concerns about the safety and health of our officers."
Officials from Fairfax County, where the District-operated prison is situated, also expressed concern about the incident. "I'd say they have a very serious problem on their hands," said Martha V. Pennino, vice chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
"Discipline at this facility is not in the best of shape," she said. "This kind of situation is going to continue to occur . . . until the inmates are allowed to return to their own facility."