2 dead in ‘Group disturbance’ prison in Lawton

Two Oklahoma inmates were killed and four others were injured, including a prison guard, in what the Oklahoma Department of Corrections is calling a “group disturbance.”

It happened Friday at the privately owned Lawton Correctional and Rehabilitation Facility.

DOC officials say human error is to blame after two rival gangs, who were supposed to be separated, came into contact and a fight broke out.

The privately owned facility in Lawton remains on lockdown today following Friday’s violence. DOC says that along with the two deceased inmates, another inmate was taken to the hospital by helicopter. The injured employee suffered minor injuries.

The chairman of the State House Corrections Committee, Rep. JJ Humphrey (R Lane). says he has been involved in corrections for 35 years and has never seen it as bad as it is now. He called Friday’s incident a “mini-riot.”

“How long does it take for our legislators and how long does it take for the governor to say, hey, this is clearly a problem? We’re having a huge meltdown, a complete failure with the current director, and it’s time for someone to tell us to do something. Intervene and stop these problems,” Humphrey said.

DOC pushed back on those comments, calling it a “mini-riot” with a statement saying: “The Chairman of Criminal Justice and Corrections appears to have no understanding of what exactly constitutes a riot in a correctional setting. He continues to misrepresent the truth. to fit his selfish stories.”

The fight is now under investigation by the Department of Corrections inspector general. All visits to the facility have been canceled for the time being and there is no word yet on when the lockdown will be lifted.