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Latest: Clean up of Significant Damage in Cameron Prison Uprising Underway

Authorities said "clean up underway" after Crossroads prison riot causes significant damage.

Posted: May. 15, 2018 11:12 PM
Updated: May. 15, 2018 11:12 PM

(CAMERON, Mo.) Authorities said clean up is underway after a prison riot at Crossroads Correctional Center caused significant damage Saturday night.

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The Missouri Department of Corrections reports that a group of more than 200 inmates refused to return to their cells Saturday evening at the Crossroads Correctional Center.

The DOC spokesperson, Karen Pojmann, said at around 8 p.m. the inmates began to stage a sit-down protest. According to KQ2 sources, that protest quickly turned into a riot.

Tuesday's press release from the Department said the inmates were unhappy with shrinking recreation and program time associated with staffing restrictions. KQ2 reported Monday, former CRCC employees, current CRCC employees and family and friends of those workers cited under-staffing as a direct cause of the riot.

During a phone interview with Pojmann Monday, she said, at that time, she could not say whether staffing issues were a direct cause of the inmate uprising. Now, the DOC is citing staffing shortages as the cause.

The DOC said 131 of the more than 200 inmates protesting, surrendered to staff before the riot broke out.

"To ensure employee safety, staff vacated the building and secured the entrance and exit points," according to the press release.

CRCC has been on lock-down without visitation since the riot broke out.

Property Damage

The Department said 78 inmates destroyed property throughout the facility including a Missouri Vocational Enterprises factory, dining halls and the kitchen.

"Property damage was extensive and included destruction of food supplies, graffiti, damage to security cameras, and damage to equipment and machinery throughout the building," according to the statement. "The full extent of the property damage is still being determined."

Tuesday's press release confirms KQ2's reports about the significant damage done over the weekend. Our sources said Monday the CRCC riot destroyed the facility kitchen, inmate work program machines, and caused at least $100,000 in damages. Pojmann confirmed these reports Monday afternoon.

Our sources also reported inmates had hot-wired forklifts and drove them through common areas leaving a path of destruction. Pojmann confirmed these reports too.

The Departments statement Monday said DOC staff has been sent to the facility to help with clean up and repairs.

Back Up Called

CRCC staff called for back up shortly after 8 p.m., Saturday night. In the statement, the Department said it was thankful for the support from local law enforcement's help. Missouri State Highway Patrol, Police from Kansas City, Police and Fire from Cameron, Sheriff's Departments of Clinton, DeKalb, Clay, Platte, Buchanan, Andrew and Livingston counties as well as, area first responders all sent staff to assist.

"As a result, no one was seriously hurt during the course of events," according to the press release. "No staff members were injured, and no inmates sustained injuries requiring outside medical care. Approximately 10-12 inmates were treated for minor scrapes and bruises."

The statement said the DOC was proud of how the staff handled the situation and thankful for the staff that worked through the night to make the community and facility safe.

Staff Shortage Caused Prison Riot

The Department linked the weekend inmate uprising with staffing shortages at Cameron area correctional facilities, according to Tuesday's statement.

Sources explained to KQ2 that inmate recreational time and space shrinks tandem to staff size. If there is a small staff, they cannot supervise as many activities or areas.

Monday, Pojmann said she couldn't say whether it was a direct cause but she said it may have indirectly led to the prison disturbance.

"Crossroads is understaffed by at least 80 people," she said. "Less staff leads to more inmate restrictions and offenders were not happy about that."

Tuesday, the DOC's statement said the entire department is understaffed statewide and that staffing shortages were the reason prisoners acted out.

The statement also said the problem is particularly striking in the Cameron Area.

"The shortage is particularly pronounced in the Cameron area, which is home to two large DOC facilities," the statement said. "Before the weekend’s incident, plans already were underway to transfer some inmates from the area to other facilities to help ameliorate the staffing issue."

Full-time Staff Recruiter for Cameron Area

The Department said to fix the shortage, it is now implementing an "aggressive employee recruitment" plan. That plan includes a full-time recruiter assigned to find employees for the Cameron correctional facilities.

Original Story Posted: May 14, 2018
(CAMERON, Mo.) Authorities said no serious injuries but significant damage have been reported following a Saturday riot at Crossroads Correctional Center.

The Missouri Department of Corrections reports that a group of more than 200 inmates refused to return to their cells Saturday evening at the Crossroads Correctional Center.

The DOC spokesperson, Karen Pojmann, said at around 8 p.m. the inmates began to stage a sit-down protest.

KQ2 spoke with 10 individuals Monday. The individuals including former Crossroads employees, current Crossroads employees, and family and friends of employees called and said that protest turned into full blown anarchy.

KQ2 took each person's report of the damage. We compared those stories and then called the DOC to verify the details that showed up in all ten accounts.

DOC's Response to Reports of Damage
Here is what our sources said and the Department's response to those claims.

  • The inmates caused at least $100,000 in damages to the facility, according to our sources.
    • "There was significant damage but we do not know the extent or cost of the damages right now," Pojmann said.
  • The kitchen at Crossroads is completely destroyed and out of commission right now, our sources said.
    • "The kitchen is badly damaged but the extent is still being investigated," Pojmann said. "A mobile kitchen is being used for meals."
  • Our sources reported inmates had hot-wired forklifts and drove them through common areas leaving a path of destruction.
    • "There was evidence of forklift use but we can't say more at this time," Pojmann said.
  • The prisoners had wrecked expensive machines used in the inmate work program including a machine used in toilet paper production.
    • "There was damage to those machines, and in that area but we are still looking at the costs and how much damage was done," Pojmann said.
  • Our sources also said that because of the riot, inmates had been transferred from Crossroads to Western Reception Diagnostic Center in St. Joseph. Pojmann confirmed inmates were transferred due to the incident.
    • "We found that 78 people were responsible for the property damage," she said. "Because they needed to be placed in restrictive housing, some had to be transferred."
  • The prison is critically understaffed and that led to the riot, according to KQ2's sources. Those individuals explained that inmate recreational time and space shrinks tandem to staff size.
    • "I don't think we can say it was a direct cause," Pojmann said. "But what I can tell you is that Crossroads is understaffed by at least 80 people. Less staff leads to more inmate restrictions and offenders were not happy about that."


DOC Called for Back Up
CRCC staff, Cameron Police, the Clinton County Sheriff's Department and Mo. State Highway Patrol troopers were called to assist. The Correction Emergency Response Team, or CERT, were called into work shortly after 8 p.m., according to family members of three CERT members who spoke to KQ2.

CRCC is a maximum/medium custody prison for men. The department said it took about six hours to resettle the prisoners.

The Cameron Police Department posted a message to it's Facebook page just after 6:00 a.m. Sunday, that read, "Earlier tonight the Crossroads Correctional Center called our Department for assistance with an incident at their Institution. Several Law Enforcement Agencies along with members of our Department provided extra perimeter security. The incident is over and no injuries were reported."

Saturday night, MSHP Troop H confirmed troopers were standing by at a nearby Walmart parking lot to assist CRCC staff. No word on how many police, deputies or staff were called in to help.

The DOC press release reported that "a peaceful and positive solution" was reached between the inmates and staff.

The DOC said it will investigate what lead up to the disturbance, assess property damage,and meet with offenders about concerns. Read the original press release here.

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