Inmate hurt as fights erupt at Kansas prison

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Officials say an inmate suffered minor injuries after a riot erupted at a western Kansas prison that houses mentally ill inmates.

Pawnee County Attorney Douglas McNett said the Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility at 9 p.m. Tuesday requested the assistance of the sheriff's office after fights broke out at the Central Unit. 

Six sheriff's officials responded along with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Kansas Highway Patrol, Ford County K-9 Unit, Ford County Sheriff/Dodge City Police Department Special Response Team, and the Stafford County Undersheriff. 

Some law enforcement agencies assisted with securing fences outside the facility while others were sent in to regain control of the housing units. 

McNett said there was extensive damage to all five housing units. One inmate sustained minor injuries. No staff or law enforcement officers were hurt.

“Warden Langford and the entire LCMHF staff should be commended on how they swiftly and directly addressed the situation. Their prompt response to the inmates’ inappropriate behavior prevented further escalation and prevented possible injuries to staff and inmates,” McNett said.

The last riot at the prison was on December 30, 2001, and was restricted to one housing unit.  Two inmates, Kerry Arnold and Larece Hutton, were charged at the time due to their actions.

McNett said incitement to riot is defined by Kansas Law as “by words or conduct knowingly urging others to engage to riot under circumstances which produce a clear and present danger of injury to persons or property or breach of the public peace. "

Riot is defined by Kansas Law as five or more persons acting together and without lawful authority engaging in:

  1. Use of force or violence which produces a breach of the public peace; or
  2. Threat to use force or violence against any person or property if accompanied by power or apparent power of immediate execution.

Inciting a riot is a felony and carries a sentence between seven and 23 months.

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