Camp Hill prison riots in 1989: 'It looked like Vietnam.'

By On October 25, 2018

Camp Hill prison riots in 1989: 'It looked like Vietnam.'

Camp Hill prison riots in 1989: 'It looked like Vietnam.'

On Oct. 25, 1989, a riot started in the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill in Lower Allen Twp. When the uprising was finally quelled on Oct. 27, more than 100 people were injured including 69 corrections officers and 41 inmates. Fourteen of the prison's buildings were destroyed. The damage estimate was $57 million.

The prison had a capacity of 1,826 inmates. At the time the riot broke out, the population was 2,600.

The Patriot-News on July 15, 1990, published this chronological account of what happened.

'"It looked like Vietnam," an emergency medical pilot said as helicopters churned in the night sky, flames ate through buildings, beaten and bloody guards collapsed onto stretchers, and shotguns boomed."

At 2:45 p.m. on Oct. 25, 1989, an inmate punched a guard during a routine move bringing inmates inside after yard time in front of E Block. This sparked a riot during which corrections officers were assaulted and taken hostage. Prisoners went on a rampage causing damage and setting buildings on fire.

That same day, according to The Patriot-News, "Inmates threaten hostages with chain saws and blow torches. One inmate uses a truck in an attempt to penetrate the perimeter fence but fails to get through.

Prison officials begin negotiations and two injured hostages are freed - one of whom is pushed in a cart. Other hostages are paraded around and beaten.

Negotiations end with the promise of more talks the next day. The hostages are released and inmates start returning to cells. Prison officials announced at 11 p.m. that the prison is locked down.

Source: Google News Vietnam | Netizen 24 Vietnam

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