In a tense turn of events, the Minnesota Correctional Facility - Stillwater was placed on emergency lockdown on Sunday as approximately 100 prisoners refused to return to their cells. The facility, which houses around 1,200 inmates, was temporarily thrown into disarray as the protest unfolded. Fortunately, the Minnesota Department of Corrections swiftly took action and was able to resolve the situation without any reported injuries.
The cause of the protest initially remained unclear, but it was later revealed that the inmates were protesting the prison's modified cell release schedules over the Labor Day weekend and alleged issues with access to clean water. However, the Minnesota Department of Corrections vehemently disputed these claims, stating that the modified schedule was implemented due to staffing challenges and that reports of a lack of clean water were "patently false."
Amidst the chaos, a corrections officers union, AFSCME Council 5, pointed to chronic understaffing as the root cause of the lockdown, emphasizing that adequate security measures were necessary for the successful implementation of offender programming. Bart Andersen, the Executive Director of AFSCME Council 5, stressed that the incident highlighted the truth behind the operations of the Minnesota Department of Corrections and called for immediate action to address the chronic understaffing issue.
During the lockdown, the prison's staff members were removed from common areas to ensure their safety. However, two prison officers remained in a secure control area and maintained continuous contact with authorities throughout the incident. In addition, a Special Operations Response Team was deployed to handle the crisis effectively.
Although the situation was described as “peaceful” by a spokesperson, the prison will remain in lockdown through Labor Day as a precautionary measure. The Minnesota Department of Corrections assured the public that the situation was stable, while acknowledging that the reason for the prisoners' refusals remained unclear.
As this is a breaking news situation, updates are expected to come in. Fox News Digital reached out to the Minnesota Department of Corrections for a statement but has yet to receive a response. The Associated Press has also contributed to this report, providing further information on this developing story.