‘Using a sprinkling can to put out a raging fire’: Pennsylvania prison riots 32 years ago

  • Source: Penn Live
  • Published: 10/25/2021 12:00 AM

More than 100 people were injured and a dozen buildings were destroyed by fire during riots at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill in Lower Allen Twp., Cumberland County, from Oct. 25 to 27, 1989. The cost of the damage eventually exceeded $57 million. The riots started around 3 p.m. Oct. 25 when an inmate attacked a corrections officer during a routine move bringing inmates inside after yard time. The prison at the time had a capacity of 1,826 inmates but a population of 2,600 inmates. Investigators determined that “severe overcrowding, inmate anger at policy changes regarding visitors and sick calls, and an administration that was either too slow to respond to or ignored numerous warning signs had combined to raise pressure inside the 50-year-old compound to a boiling point.”


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