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July 4, 2020

State says prisoners objected to being quarantined as part of COVID-19 precautions

SALISBURY — An incident in which prisoners barricaded themselves into a dorm at Piedmont Correctional Institute started with an objection to being quarantined for two weeks as a pandemic-related precaution, according to a Department of Public Safety spokesman.

At 11 a.m. Saturday, about three dozen offenders at the prison on Camp Road barricaded themselves in the dorm and broke a few windows, said Department of Public Safety spokesman John Bull. But he said it was not a riot. No offenders or staff were injured.

“These offenders were new arrivals to the facility, on June 22, and apparently objected to being confined to their 36-bed dorm for two weeks out of a precaution due to the pandemic,” Bull said. “These quarantine protocols are in keeping with the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. These precautionary protocols, which are used in prisons throughout the state and most of the country, are designed to keep the virus from spreading in a prison if it gets into a prison.”

Through communication, the offenders agreed to unbarricade the dorm, Bull said. He said force was not needed to get into the dorm.

The Department of Public Safety is continuing to investigate the incident.

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