HUDSON – Authorities are trying to figure out why the cell doors in a unit housing 41 inmates opened early Wednesday morning, leading to a riot at a private correctional facility.
Authorities say they are investigating why the cell doors opened at 1:20 a.m. in the segregated housing unit of Building A of the Hudson Correctional Facility. They say the unit is home to inmates who need protective custody or have behavioral problems and are housed one inmate to a cell.
Prison officials suggested a computer malfunction could have contributed to the mishap, but say they have not confirmed that.
When the cell doors opened, authorities say after reviewing surveillance footage, some of the inmates came out of their cells and began to riot, while others saw the rioting, returned to their cells and closed their doors.
The guards on duty at the time sought refuge in a nearby captain’s office, barricading themselves inside. They say they were still able to monitor the inmates from the office. Officials say it appears some of the inmates may have even protected the guards.
According to officials, a group of eight to 12 inmates were involved in the riot, and broke a sprinkler head off, which caused flooding.
Katherine Sanguinetti, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, announced around 10 a.m. that authorities had regained control of the prison housing pod.
“At no time was the public at risk,” Sanguinetti stated in a release.
Officials say no guards were taken hostage, no staff members were injured and inmates only suffered minor injuries.
Authorities say the facility will operate under lockdown while authorities investigate.
No fires were reported, but because the prisoners triggered a sprinkler system, the Hudson Fire Department was the first agency called to the scene. The Weld County Sheriff’s Office was also alerted and rushed to the prison to assist.
The prison has a maximum capacity of 1,250. All of the prisoners housed at the facility are from Alaska. It is run by Cornell Companies, Inc., which owns 68 facilities in 16 states.
Authorities say because the inmates involved were from Alaska, they face prosecution both in Alaska and Colorado for the incident.