State prison complex still on lockdown after brawl

CREATED Mar 4, 2013

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  • The Whetstone Unit at the AZ State Prison Complex remains on lockdown after a fight broke out.

Reporter: Alexis Fernandez

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Two inmates involved in a massive brawl over the weekend are still in the hospital being treated for minor injuries.

Deputy Warden, Daniella Stemple with the Arizona Department of Corrections says 400 inmates broke out into a fight early Sunday morning at the Whetstone Unit at the Arizona State Prison Complex on Wilmot Road.

Stemple says the brawl got so out of control, a tactical team unit had to be called to regain control. 

Emergency teams were also called to take 17 injured inmates and two staff workers to the hospital for treatment.

Today, more than 1,200 inmates remain under lockdown mode while prison officials investigate what sparked the riot.

It's the second time a fight has broken out at this same prison in six months.

The last time, 200 inmates got into a fight at the Santa Rita Unit. 

9OYS's Alexis Fernandez asked whether staffing was an issue when the incident happened?

"Tucson complex is fully staffed, we have no staffing issues," Stemple responded.

Bill Lamoreaux, a spokesperson with the Department of Corrections says federal budget cuts will not impact state prisons in Arizona.

As to what can be done to prevent another brawl, remains uncertain.

"Right now we can't speculate until we figure out the root of the problem, then we can determine where to go from there," said Stemple.