Nearly 400 inmates were involved in a massive prison fight at the Whetstone Unit of the Arizona State Prison Complex in Tucson. The prison remains on lockdown, and 19 people were reportedly injured during the fight.
The fight began around 9:45 a.m. on Sunday, according to spokesman Bill Lamoreaux. He added that prison guards were able to quickly contain the unruly prisoners and prevent further injuries from happening. Unfortunately, though, 17 inmate and two prison guards were injured and required transport to a local hospital.
There are approximately 1,250 prisoners housed in the Whetstone Unit, and it is fortunate that guards were able to contain the melee to only 400 prisoners. The prison was immediately put on lockdown and all visitations were canceled by the administration.
The prison still remains on lockdown as authorities continue to investigate what led to the fight. It is unclear just how long the lockdown will continue, but visitations have been canceled until Tuesday, Lamoreaux told KVOA News.
In 2009, a prison fight broke out among 100 inmates and left three inmates and one corrections officer injured. The injuries were minor, but the prison was put on lockdown for several days as investigators attempted to discern the cause of the fight.
The Lewis Prison Complex west of Phoenix, where the 2009 incident took place, is home to what may be the longest prison standoff in American history, Fox News reported. Just five years earlier, in 2004, two inmates managed to take two prison guards hostage for 15 days before surrendering.
Since then, prisons have been working to prevent such incidents from occurring, though at times, fights simply break out due to tension between prisoners. According to the Epoch Times, Sunday's fight involved 300 Caucasian and Mexican-American inmates as well as 100 African-American inmates.
Racial tension has been a problem for the Whetstone Unit, reports state, and overcrowding in Arizona prisons has also been a significant problem.