- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

LEAKESVILLE, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi Department of Corrections says seven correctional officers at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Leakesville were assaulted following a shakedown at the prison.

State officials say all of the officers were treated and released from a nearby hospital.

Five inmates had been identified Monday evening as being among the attackers, and were moved to another prison. The investigation continues, and all inmates involved in the assault will face charges.

“We do not know at this time what provoked these inmates to assault our officers,” Corrections Commissioner Christopher B. Epps said in a statement. “At no time was the public at risk nor was the security, custody, control and care of other staff and inmates.”

The disturbance occurred around 1:30 p.m. at SMCI Area II, A 2 building, which can house a capacity of 200 inmates who require close supervision and observation. The unit held 193 close custody inmates at the time of the disturbance. Other SMCI staff responded to the unit when an officer radioed for assistance.

SMCI Area II is the same location where an officer was assaulted Thursday but in a different unit. The officer was in Unit A1 when an inmate struck him with a bread tray and the officer fell and struck his head on the floor. The officer, whose condition has been improving, remains hospitalized.

“Regardless of the reason for these assaults, I intend to see that all these inmates are prosecuted,” Epps said. “These assaults illustrate the type of inmates we are dealing with these days. I am committed to ensuring that our prisons are appropriately staffed, as SMCI was in these two cases, and our officers are able to go home each day.”

SMCI remained on lockdown late Monday.

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