Officers regain control of UP prison unit after fight

LANSING, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — Authorities regained control of a 236-inmate housing unit inside an Upper Peninsula prison early Monday morning after a fight among three inmates resulted in one being Tased by an officer, the state Corrections Department said.

The fight began around 10:25 p.m. Sunday at the Chippewa Correctional Facility in Kincheloe.

After the Tased prisoner was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, about 75 to 100 inmates — who had not yet been locked in their cells for the night — surrounded the officer station, Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz told News 8. Staff members then locked down cells and bay rooms for those remaining in those spaces and left the area for their own safety.

The department’s emergency response team moved into the low-security unit just before 4 a.m. and retook control, putting all inmates in their cells. The U.S. Border Patrol helped provide additional perimeter security. State police also responded.

Gautz said the Tased prisoner was medically cleared at the hospital and discharged back into the department’s custody.

It was speculated on social media that the inmate who was Tased died, but the Michigan Department of Corrections says that’s not true. Gautz said the response team didn’t need to use force when they went back in and regained control.

There is extensive damage inside the unit, which houses Level II inmates, and is “not livable,” Gautz said. The prisoners were transferred to other facilities until repairs can be made.

Officials are working to assess all the damage but say some of it includes:

  • Two windows
  • Two sinks
  • Kiosks used to send messages ripped off walls
  • Fire alarm system needs repairs

At this time, it’s unclear how many of the 236 inmates were involved in the incident and who is responsible as surveillance cameras inside the unit were broken, but an investigation has been launched. MDOC is looking into how to prevent a situation like this from happening in the future.