Prison Riots Essay

1294 Words Jan 15th, 2009 6 Pages
Management positions in prisons are known to be very demanding. Correctional facilities are difficult to operate and are forced to deal with overcrowding which leads to an outnumbered staff and a continuous flow of violent and dangerous inmates. An issue that management faces is the occurrence of riots. According to dictionary.com, a riot is a disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons acting together in a disrupting and tumultuous manner in carrying out their private purposes. Some riots are characterized by organization and demands, others by weak and confused formation of leadership, or conflict and violence among inmates themselves. In some riots, prisoners inflict suffering on hostages, inmates treat hostages well …show more content…
Prison staff is now dealing with a less stable and sane person than they originally brought into prison. At this point, any aggravation can push an inmate over the edge which can lead to a riot in seconds.
An example of what happens when prisons become overcrowded took place in Trenton, New Jersey in 1952. The small prison was made up of "sexual psychopaths, passive homosexuals, aggressive 'wolves' with long records of fights and stabbings, escape artists, agitators and incorrigibles of all ages" (Blackwell). While Trenton’s overcrowding was minimal compared to today’s standards, there was 1,312 inmates in a facility designed to hold 1,190. The cells were old and rundown, barely lit, and infested with rats that were fed better than the inmates (Blackwell). The prison began hiring tougher, more rugged correction officers to combat the rowdy inmates. The inhumane treatment of the inmates contributed to an unstable and volatile emotional state among the inmates. Around midnight on March 29, 1952, the inmates began to tear apart their cots, using the metal legs to pry open their cell doors. The inmates “chased their guards out of the wing, barricaded the entrance and wrecked everything they could lay their hands on. They smashed cell toilets, shredded beds, broke windows and set fires” (Blackwell). The guards broke the will of the inmates after 46 hours by using tear gas and water hoses. Two weeks later, a group…

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