Disturbance at jail

SAINT JOHN – Police are investigating after a group of inmates became “disruptive and destructive” at the Saint John Regional Correctional Centre, trashing a unit by breaking windows and doors.

The disturbance happened at about 10:30 p.m. in an area with 12 adult men, said Art Crockett, the jail superintendent.

“There was no particular spark in my opinion that set up this chain of events, but we do have personalities within that unit today… some very aggressive inmates who were present on the unit (Sunday) night, and some of those personalities led to the issues,” he said.

It started when the Old Black River Road jail started regular night-time lockdown procedures for inmates to return to their cells.

“Prior to that, they were actively involved in a day room area, and it became evident this group did not want to be managed,” Crockett said.

While staff waited for reinforcements the inmates had time to do quite a bit of damage, he said. The staff eventually stopped the disturbance and locked up the inmates again. Saint John police waited outside, because they police outside the jail, not in, Crockett said.

A number of people could be charged, though Crockett doesn’t believe all 12 men were active participants.

Because the disturbance resulted in damage to security and fire suppression systems, the jail went into lockdown until 2 p.m. Monday, he said.

A few inmates had minor injuries as a result of breaking the doors, windows and other items, Crockett said. A damage estimate was not available.

He said “significantly less damage” was caused than the riot in January 2010, when inmates went on a rampage, destroying furniture, sinks, toilets, as well as lights, wiring and wallboard, causing $300,000 in damage. Five men are awaiting a trial on mischief charges.

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