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Arkansas prison breakout prompts investigation

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Arkansas Department of Corrections

PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Two guards and an inmate have been attacked at a maximum security prison in central Arkansas, prompting a guard to fire three warning shots into the air, according to state Department of Correction officials.

Department officials said it wasn’t notified of the situation last month until the Arkansas Times reported about it Monday.

Department spokesman Solomon Graves said the Arkansas State Police is investigating the July 22 incident and will evaluate staff’s actions during and after the incident, which occurred in in a solitary confinement area at the Maximum Security Unit in Tucker.

At least two inmates escaped their single-man cells. Another inmate was stabbed after his cell was breached. Graves said it’s unclear what kind of weapon was used in the stabbing.

Graves said the warning shots were fired when two corrections officers were assaulted after trying to handcuff an inmate and stop another two from escaping. He said the corrections officers were able to take control of the situation and return the prison to normal operations.

The investigation’s findings will be presented to the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s office.

“Any decisions regarding corrective action, whether those be policy changes, whether those be personnel actions, those will follow once the investigation is complete,” Graves said. “Obviously this isn’t something the department is going to drag out, but the goal is to conduct a thorough investigation.”

Graves said the department is also conducting its own investigation into the events.

Graves declined to give the names of the inmates involved, citing the pending investigation.

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