Authorities at the Crossroads Correctional Center in Cameron say the inmates involved in a disturbance Saturday night have been identified, searched, placed in restrictive housing, and may face referrals for prosecution and payment for damages.
The Missouri Department of Corrections reports the prison’s dining halls, kitchen facilities, storage areas, and staff offices as well as a Missouri Vocational Enterprises factory were damaged. There were no serious injuries, and about a dozen inmates were treated for minor scrapes and bruises.
The corrections department reports that 209 inmates began a sit-down protest about 8 o’clock Saturday night and refused to return to their housing units after their evening meal. They cited their dissatisfaction with a staffing shortage leading to reduced time for recreation and other programming.
Department of Corrections Communications Director Karen Pojmann says 131 of the inmates surrendered to staff and were escorted away from the building. She notes staff also vacated the building and secured the entrance and exit points to ensure employee safety. The remaining 78 inmates caused property damage before order was restored about 2 o’clock Sunday morning. The full extent of the damage is still being determined.
As previously reported, Crossroads staff followed procedures, secured the area, and reported on activity through a chain of command before the disturbance was resolved. The Highway Patrol, Cameron Police Department, other law enforcement agencies in the Cameron area, and Corrections Emergency Response Team personnel assisted the Department of Corrections by providing backup support and surrounding the facility with patrol cars and emergency vehicles.
Crossroads Correctional Center remains on lockdown, and visiting has been suspended until further notice. Staff from throughout the state have been dispatched to help with cleanup, inventory, and repairs. Neighboring institutions are supplying meals, and a mobile kitchen unit has been deployed to provide further food service for inmates.
Crossroads Correctional Center houses about 1,400 medium and maximum security inmates. Pojmann explains that the Department of Corrections is experiencing a staffing shortage and has embarked on an employee recruitment effort. She says the shortage is particularly pronounced in the Cameron area where there are two large corrections facilities.
Plans were already underway to transfer some inmates from the area to other facilities before this weekend’s incident. The department has assigned a full-time recruiter for the Cameron area.