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Oregon State Penitentiary locked down after 20-inmate fight


The Oregon State Penitentiary was placed in modified lockdown Sunday night after guards used a chemical spray to stop a fight involving about 20 inmates, Department of Corrections officials said. It was the second such incident in less than a week involving fights at Oregon’s only maximum-security prison.

Staff responded to the inmate fight in a prison recreation area around 7:30 p.m. and “administered chemical spray to control the situation,” officials said in a news release.

“No major injuries of staff or inmates were reported, they said, but several inmates were escorted to disciplinary segregation.

The penitentiary was placed in modified lockdown, with all activities and visiting canceled until further notice. The incident was under investigation.

The prison also was placed on modified lockdown last Monday after fights involving about 70 inmates broke out outside the dining room. That also led to no serious injuries, but all activities and visiting hours were canceled.

Oregon State Penitentiary is a multi-custody prison located in Salem that houses over 2,000 male inmates and is surrounded by a 25-foot-high wall with 10 towers. The facility has multiple special housing units including death row, disciplinary segregation, behavioral health, intermediate care housing, and an infirmary (with hospice) with 24-hour nursing care.

OSP participates in prison industries with Oregon Corrections Enterprises including the furniture factory, laundry, metal shop, and contact center. It provides a range of correctional programs and services including education, work-based education, inmate work crews, and pre-release services. OSP was established in 1866 and, until 1959, was Oregon’s only prison.

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