By The Banner staff
The Duncan Banner
An incident Saturday night in Stephens County Jail sparked Sheriff Wayne McKinney’s fuse enough to order an immediate lockdown. That lockdown has been extended to also include no visitation orders until further notice, McKinney told The Banner on Wednesday.
He said one pod was shutdown Saturday night when 25-30 inmates refused to return to their cells. When guards requested backup from Stephens County Sheriff’s Office and Duncan Police Department, the response was quick.
“When we showed up in force, they (prisoners) gave up and complied.”
McKinney said the incident began when guards learned someone had a device which could be made into a weapon. The inmates were ordered to return to their cells and refused.
“They put up a resistance,” he said. That’s when the pod was put into lockdown and the inmates were in an area known as the day area. During the time they were in there, they broke a sprinkler head as a diversion and flushed the contraband down a toilet. They also busted a television set, which McKinney said they will not get back.
“A lot of this is associated with the amount of prisoners we have. We have over 180 today and by this weekend it will probably be over 200. Our capacity is at 164,” McKinney said.
“Whenever you have a troublemaker, and you can’t segregate them, (male or female) because you don’t have the space, this is what happens.”
He said contrary to what has been reported in other area news outlets, there was not a fight or brawl.
“I’m not going to put my people in harm’s way. We run the jail, they don’t,” he said about the inmates. He also said even though it was just a few inmates who caused the uproar, it means all visitation is canceled for all inmates until he gives a different order.
“They can stay in lockdown until hell freezes over. We’re in charge.” Rumors have surfaced on Facebook that the jail has been in lockdown for a couple of weeks. McKinney said this isn’t true.
McKinney said one of his biggest concerns is for the future. He said the overcrowding situation “is not going to go away.” He plans to address it after the first of the year.
“I’m going to find a place to put up a tent (with wire) to house our less violent ones,” he said.