A riot broke out in the recreation yard at Monroe Correctional Complex in Washington after prisoners learned that six inmates tested positive for COVID-19. Officials tried to stop the disturbance using pepper spray and rubber bullets.
Their methods did not work, and the riot spread to other areas of the facility, with nearly 200 prisoners taking part. The inmates set off fire extinguishers and began to destroy the housing units.
Eventually, authorities were able to restore order to the prison and returned the inmates to their cells. There were no reports of injuries to the prisoners or the prison staff.
According to KOMO-TV, prisoners in the minimum security wing have been on edge for the past few weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"There's fear and frustration building inside this minimum-security unit," Suzy, who has a son in the facility, told the news station. "And I've been there for visits twice a week for a long time, and it's pretty mellow and quiet in there most of the time I was shocked to hear them tonight with all the loud yelling and anxious sounding... the anger and frustration that's been building in that unit."
Officials said that the six inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 are in isolation and are being monitored by a team of healthcare professionals.
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