Documents show details of Norton prison disturbance not shared by KDOC

NORTON, Kan.(KWCH) (AP) The Latest on a disturbance at a state prison in northwestern Kansas (all times local):

Update Thursday (Sept. 7):

We're learning more about what happened inside the Norton Correctional Facility during a disturbance Tuesday night.

Documents obtained by FactFinder 12 show details that that were not shared by officials with the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC).

Some of these details, laid out in prison logs not shared with KDOC include inmates using a cart to run over officers and making weapons out of broken glass.

The department of corrections told Eyewitness News a fight between inmates led to a fire and two minor injuries. KDOC also said as many as 250 inmates spilled into the yard, broke into a tool shed and smashed several prison windows.

Logs from inside the prison show an inmate tried to run over an officer with a cart. Anonther entry says inmates broke into an office and threw rocks at staff, tipped over a medical response vehicle and even picked up large pieces of glass, wrapping them in towels to use as possible weapons.

One log entry says 40 inmates were laid down by the chapel and were not restrained. It says the threat in the north yard was "intense" and that inmates were advised to remain on the ground or else face the possible "use of lethal force."

FactFinder 12 investigator Rachel Skytta called a spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Corrections to find out why they didn't release information in the log entries.

The spoeksperson says he had not seen the logs and can't confirm if the entries are accurate. He says releasing the log book is a security risk and that the situation at the Norton Correctional Facility is not outside the realm of what correctional officers regularly deal with.

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Wednesday updates

3:40 p.m.

A Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman is confirming that part of a building for housing inmates at a prison in the state's northwest is not livable following a disturbance.

Spokesman Samir Arif also said the department increased the number of inmates it transferred out of the Norton Correctional Facility on Wednesday to 100, up from 90 earlier.

But Arif said the inmates were transferred for security reasons, not because part of the housing building was damaged.

The disturbance occurred Tuesday night. Arif said it began when an inmate or inmates set fire to a mattress and about 250 spilled into the yard. Windows were smashed in several buildings and inmates broke into a tool shed.

The low-security prison is about 320 miles (515 kilometers) west of Kansas City.

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10:45 a.m.

A Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman says it has transferred 90 inmates from a prison in the state's northwest following a disturbance there.

Spokesman Samir Arif said Wednesday that the inmates were moved from the Norton Correctional Facility to other Kansas prisons.

Arif says the disturbance at Norton began Tuesday night when an inmate or inmates set fire to a mattress in a housing unit and as many as 250 inmates spilled into the yard. He said inmates broke into a tool shed and smashed several prison windows.

Arif says two staff members suffered minor injuries that required no medical attention.

The disturbance drew law enforcement officers and firefighters to the prison just south of the Nebraska state line and about 320 miles west (515 kilometers) west of Kansas City.

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2:30 a.m.

A fight between inmates leads to a fire and two injuries at the Norton Correctional Facility in north-central Kansas, according to the public information officer for the prison.

It started around 9:30 p.m. as Norton Correctional Facility staff responded to a disturbance between inmates during yard time, according to prison staff. Corrections officials say, at one point, inmates were throwing rocks at one another.

During that time, KDOC went on to say a mattress was somehow set on fire.

The Norton Fire Department was called in, but staff was able to put the fire out before they arrived.

KDOC said two corrections officers suffered very minor injuries while restraining the inmates involved in the disturbance, but neither needed medical attention.

The situation is under control and all inmates are secure, according to corrections officials.

An investigation is underway, according to the corrections department

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12:25 a.m.

The Kansas Department of Corrections has confirmed that an inmate disturbance occurred at a state prison in western Kansas and that local law enforcement officers are on the scene.

Department spokesman Samir Arif provided no other details about the disturbance Tuesday night at the Norton Correctional Facility.

Norton City Administrator Chad Buckley says all of the town's firetrucks and his entire police department responded to the scene to assist corrections officials.

The Norton prison housed 848 inmates as of Friday, with another 125 at a satellite unit in Stockton, to the east. Most of the inmates are either "low" medium-security inmates or minimum-security inmates. The prison is about 320 miles west of Kansas City.

The state saw multiple inmate disturbances in recent months at its maximum-security prison in El Dorado in southern Kansas.

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Late Tuesday night updates

Multiple agencies are responding to a disturbance at the Norton Correctional Facility.

The Kansas Association of State Employees describes the situation as a "riot." KDOC would only describe the situation as a disturbance.

The Norton County Sheriff's Office says people in Norton are asked to lock their homes and vehicles and remain inside due to the incident at the prison.

In its statement issued about midnight, KDOC says "an inmate disturbance occurred at the Norton Correctional Facility at about 9:30 p.m. (Tuesday.)"

"Local law enforcement agencies are on the scene and are responding to the situation, including the Norton Fire Department," KDOC says.
"No injuries have been reported at this time."

September 6, 2017