PRESS RELEASE: Disturbance at Monroe Correctional Complex Under Control
Released April 8, 2020
Department of Corrections
Entrance to the Monroe Correctional Complex (Photo Courtesy of DOC Communications)
TUMWATER – On Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at approximately 6:00 p.m., over 100 incarcerated minimum custody men began engaging in a demonstration in the recreation yard at Monroe Correctional Complex. All measures to bring individuals into compliance were ignored including verbal directives, pepper (OC) spray and sting balls, which release light, noise, and rubber pellets.
Fire extinguishers were set off within two housing units within the Minimum Security Unit, providing an appearance of smoke from the exterior. The Emergency Response Team (ERT) gave verbal directives and the directives were obeyed by over half the men. Because there were men who continue to ignore the directives, sting balls were then discharged into the area. The individuals then stopped the destruction of the two housing units and came into compliance.
There were no injuries to staff or incarcerated men. Both housing units were fully evacuated. The facility is on restricted movement. The situation is under control.
It is believed at this time that the incident was caused by recent positive test results of COVID-19 among six men within the Minimum Security Unit. Those six men were transferred from the Minimum Security Unit on Sunday to the facility’s isolation unit. The facility health care team is providing clinical monitoring and supportive care for the individuals in the isolation unit.
The Department of Corrections continues to work at protecting medically vulnerable incarcerated individuals. All individuals in the housing unit where the first positive individuals were previously housed continue to have no symptoms of illness or disease (asymptomatic) and are wearing surgical masks for further protection.
The Department of Corrections takes the safety and security of its correctional facilities, staff, and incarcerated individuals very seriously. An internal investigation will be completed.
Monroe Correctional Complex, located in Monroe, Wash., opened its Minimum Security Unit in 1997 and it houses approximately 450 minimum custody male inmates.