Feb. 3, 2004 – As a result of a prison yard fight at the Golden Grove Correctional Facility and the stabbing of two inmates, officials have imposed a one-week lockdown of the St. Croix institution housing an estimated 500 prisoners from throughout the territory.
Attorney General Iver Stridiron, who as head of the V.I. Justice Department oversees the Bureau of Corrections, said on Tuesday that prisoners are being confined to their cells because of concern that more violence might break out.
Corrections officials reportedly told Justice Department authorities that a fight between two prisoners began Sunday morning during a recreation period and resulted in one stabbing. Stridiron said friends of the victim are believed to have retaliated by stabbing his attacker.
Authorities have not identified either prisoner.
"Because of the possibility of further violence in the compound and the fact that we suspect there are homemade weapons … in and about the compound, the director determined it would be appropriate to lock down the facility," Stridiron said on Tuesday. "The lockdown began on Sunday and will continue for approximately one week while we sort out what happened and who is to be brought up on charges for the incident."
Stridiron also said either or both of the combatants in Sunday's fight may be sent off island to a maximum-security facility in Virginia which has an agreement with the V.I. government to house up to 20 of the territory's prisoners.
At Golden Grove, visitation privileges have been suspended. Prisoners assigned to work details outside the facility are not being allowed to venture out, Stridiron said, but inmates who have duties inside the compound are being allowed to report for work.
V.I. National Guard personnel, Territorial Court marshals and police officers from the St. Thomas-St. John district have temporarily been reassigned to Golden Grove to assist in conducting prison cell searches. Two homemade weapons had been seized as of Tuesday, Stridiron said, and authorities expect to find more.
All contraband will be catalogued, Stridiron said.
Last September, an overnight shakedown netted authorities three large boxfuls of rusty weapons, drugs, charge cards, cellular phones and a bootleg copy of the police action movie "SWAT."
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