Seize in a prison


I just finished reading “Siege In Lucasville” by Gary Williams. Lucasville is a city in the very southern part of Ohio that has a maximum- security prison, which is Southern Ohio Correctional Institution. In April of 1993 there was an 11day riot, which was the longest and third deadliest riot in American history. There were nine inmates and one prison guard killed during the riot. Nearly $40 million worth of damage was done to the prison. Larry Dotson, one of the prison guards during the riot tells the author his account of what happened during the time he was being held hostage and a day-by-day account of the standoff. Gang members stating the prisoners were unhappy because it was mandatory that every inmate is TB tested and for some of them, this was against their religion. This is how the riot started. They were also unhappy because of prison over crowding and having to cell with inmates of another race. This book was certainly an eye opener for me since I work in a correctional facility.
The author also tells about the torture and terror that Larry Dotson experienced in the midst of rival prison gangs struggling to negotiate with the authorities and coexist with each other. Mr. Dotson’s beatings resulted in him being hospitalized for two weeks, several months of physical therapy, and years of emotional healing. He has also had to attend 17 post riot trials.
I believe the Lucasville riot was well thought out by inmates for a significant amount of time. There was extreme destruction of the facility and the inmates literally took over the whole prison. They used free weights to break through the safe wells that were intended for the officers to hide for safety. Authorities found out afterwards that there was no reinforcement in the concrete block walls. After authorities reviewed everything that happened during the riot, there were a lot of changes in policies and procedures. I think this was definitely a learning experience for them, although it was at the price of several lives and $40 million.
The hospital could’ve used forensic nurses during the initial assessment period when officers and inmates were brought in to the ER post riot. There was evidence and several hundred weapons found at the facility that had to have DNA collected, in which a forensic nurse would have been an asset to the investigation team.


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