For more than a decade, Lorton Reformatory has been the scene of much unrest and several inmate uprisings.
The following is a chronology of major incidents at the prison: December 1974: About 100 inmates arm themselves and stage a Christmas Eve takeover of the maximum-security section, seizing 10 guards as hostages. Inmates and prison officials meet to discuss grievances, and the hostages are freed after 20 hours. The uprising is apparently associated with an escape by four inmates in a prison guard's car, which is later found with an inmate's body inside.
February 1975: After a recreation period, 30 inmates refuse to return to their cells in maximum security and begin breaking furniture and lockers. They are forced back into their cells by guards using tear gas.
October 1980: Seven inmates at Youth Center II are injured in a bloody gang fight in which prisoners swing boards, tree limbs and knives at each other. The four-hour riot is quelled by prison guards who storm the building, firing Mace and carrying shotguns. More than 80 inmates are involved.
December 1983: Inmates are transferred after a night-long burning and window-breaking rampage that begins in Youth Center I. About 200 inmates are involved; the clash injures 13 corrections officers. Fairfax County police and firefighters are called in to help put out fires inside the prison and to encircle prison grounds.
July 1984: About 200 maximum-security inmates, angered about their loss of visiting privileges, stage a melee in the mess hall and go on a fire-setting spree during a two-hour confrontation with 40 riot-clad guards. Tear gas is used to force the prisoners to return to their cells.
December: About 100 inmates from Youth Center 2 storm the facility's gym, where 140 inmates from Youth Center I are being housed temporarily following methane gas explosions that forced the evacuation of their cells.
January 1985: Six corrections officers are injured while attempting to break up scuffles outside a dormitory at Lorton's medium-security facilities.
February: Two inmates who had been evacuated from their cell block because of fires are found stabbed in a recreation yard at the maximum-security facility.
September: About 400 inmates go on strike to protest prison wages and medical services.
September: Attempted transfer of five inmates believed to be leaders of the strike leads to a riot by about 300 other striking inmates. Guards fire tear gas to quell the riot. When inmates charge a small group of guards, seven officers armed with shotguns fire into the crowd, wounding 13 inmates.
November: A 20-year-old inmate at Youth Center I is stabbed 11 times and dies during an incident behind the admissions building. The stabbing attack is one in a long series of such assaults.
January 1986: More than 60 inmates, some armed with pipes and chains, set fire to a mattress and fight among themselves until corrections officers in riot gear quell the disturbance with tear gas.
February: In the latest in a series of periodic prisoner escapes, an inmate escapes from a minimum-security facility.
April: Eleven inmates are wounded in an early morning melee that begins with a power outage at Youth Center I. Inmates hurl homemade fire bombs, starting 15 separate blazes that burn out of control for more than two hours and gut a wing of the academic building. Officers fire shotguns at two groups of prisoners who charge them.
May: Inmates at Occoquan I and II throw 10 beds out of dorms and set three mattresses on fire after corrections officials try to place additional beds in dorms that inmates and corrections sources say are overcrowded.
June 27: Violence among a few inmates escalates to inmates held in other dorms at Youth Center II. Five inmates are injured.
June 28: One inmate is tossed out of a second-story window and three others also are injured during another fight at Youth Center II involving 30 to 40 inmates. Guards use tear gas to restore order.