Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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April 26, 2007

Aftermath of New Castle riot reroutes prisoners

PLAINFIELD, Ind. — If the behavior of inmates transferred from the New Castle Correctional Facility to facilities here is any indication, rioting must be exhausting.

Ten inmates were transferred to the Plainfield Correctional Facility and 123 ended up at the Plainfield Diagnostic Center. Phil Slavens, superintendent for re-entry at the Plainfield Facility said the prisoners have caused no problems so far.

“They’re basically just sleeping,” he said.

As a precaution, the inmates landed in segregation upon arrival to their new home, Slavens said.

According to a press release from the Indiana Department of Corrections, offenders enroute to lunch and participating in recreation time began to resist staff orders to return to cells at about 2 p.m. April 24.

A riot involving about 500 of the 1,668 offenders residing in the facility broke out. Offenders disrobed and destroyed furnishings and broke windows.

Slavens said the inmates were transferred to facilities across the state because some of the living space at the New Castle facility remains unlivable and as a precaution to avoid future incidences.

Two New Castle staff members received minor injuries and seven offenders also suffered from minor injuries, mainly due to tear gas used to control the population.

Slavens pointed out that his staff doesn’t yet know if any of the new prisoners was even involved in the riot. All of the prisoners here originate from Indiana, he said.

New Castle officials reported that both prisoners from Indiana and those transferred last month from Arizona were involved in the melee.

“We don’t know the involvement of any of these guys,” Slavens said. “We just know they were there.”

He didn’t know how long they would remain in segregation, but did say that will be determined after each is in individually interviewed by investigators.

Plainfield Correctional Facility is a medium security facility off of U.S. 40, just west of Plainfield. The Plainfield Diagnostic Center serves as a reception center for all male offenders, except for convicted murderers, entering the Indiana prison system.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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