KINCHELOE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Michigan Corrections Organization is claiming Sunday that the protest at Kinross Correctional Facility Saturday morning was "not an average, peaceful demonstration that anyone can brush off."
According to Chris Gautz, the Michigan Department of Corrections Public Information Officer, around 400 prisoners marched peacefully as a form of protest outside the prisoner housing units, and as the department began to remove the instigators of the protest, some inmates caused damage to their housing unit. The Associated Press has said some inmates smashed sinks, started a small fire, and broke at least one window.
However, the Michigan Corrections Organization, the union representing corrections officers, disagrees with the claims the protest was peaceful and the damage was minor.
Anita Lloyd, the Communications Director for the MCO said corrections officers have revealed to them that inmates lit fire to a housing unit, and barricaded themselves in housing units. Lloyd says two of those units are now unlivable.
Lloyd also stated more than 100 MDOC Emergency Response Team members and 190 additional corrections staff responded from around the state. Lloyd and MCO believe the event was more serious than the statement MDOC portrayed Saturday evening.
"We are feeling lucky and thankful that no one was injured," said Lloyd. "Suffice it to say, corrections officers have stressful and dangerous jobs, which require them to be ready for anything at any moment."
150 of the roughly 1,200 prisoners were transported to other facilities following Saturday's incidents. Gautz did not specify which facilities inmates were transported to.
Gautz said the protest was held to coincide with the 45th annual anniversary of the Attica Correctional Facility riots in upstate New York. Though KCF was the only prison in Michigan that experienced any form of protest this weekend, several other states across the U.S. encountered prisoner protests as well.
There were no injuries to any prisoners or staff during the protest at KCF or during the incidents that followed.
Kinross Correctional Facility in Kincheloe houses around 1,200 level I and level II prisoners. It is in Chippewa County near Sault Ste. Marie.