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Saturday, January 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Five Idaho prisons on ‘secure status’ after gangs clash for second time in two days

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Five prisons south of Boise have been placed on secure status indefinitely following the second altercation in two days between gangs that involved multiple inmates, officials said Saturday.

The Idaho Department of Correction in a news release said 28 inmates in the housing unit at the 2,170-bed Idaho State Correctional Center for men took part in the latest disturbance that began at about 7:30 p.m. Friday.

One inmate was taken to a Boise hospital with non-life threatening injuries and no staff members were injured. According to the agency, at least one weapon, a broom handle, was used during the disturbance.

Visiting has been suspended at the Idaho State Correctional Center and three other prisons also in the South Boise Correctional Complex. Those include the South Boise Women's Correctional Center, Idaho State Correctional Institution and South Idaho Correctional Institution.

Friday's incident follows a Thursday clash between prison gangs involving 17 inmates at the nearby Idaho Maximum Security Institution for men south of Boise in Kuna. Five inmates were taken to a local hospital for treatment in that incident. No staff members were injured. That institution is also on secure status.

"We do not know at this time when the facilities will come off of secure status," Ashley Dowell, chief of Division of Prisons, said in a statement. "We will do everything we can to assess the situation and return to normal operations when it is safe to do so."

Officials said secure status is not a lockdown but does limit the movements of inmates. But officials said some portions of the Idaho State Correctional Center and Idaho Maximum Security Institution are locked down during the investigation.

Jeff Ray, spokesman for the Idaho Department of Correction, said the same gangs were involved in both incidents but declined to name the gangs. It's not clear if the two gang fights are related in some way, officials said.

State officials have asked the Ada County Sheriff's Office to investigate the incidents, which the state agency says it does after all serious assaults at the prisons.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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