A surge of gang violence has prompted a series of unusual lockdowns in six North Carolina prisons in recent months, reports the Raleigh News and Observer. The lockdowns indicate that state prison officials considered the gang violence to be a serious problem. All but one of the prisons has returned to normal operations. Scotland Correctional Institution in Laurinburg, where the violence began, has been on lockdown off and on since January. It has recently eased restrictions and is transitioning to regular operations.
State officials were reluctant to discuss what happened in detail, out of concern for encouraging further violence. They said that in January six of the state’s 12 prisons with high-security inmates were placed on temporary lockdown “due to a serious gang-related situation.”None of the lockdowns lasted more than seven days While lockdowns are common, this was unusually widespread. Lockdowns are used to temporarily stabilize fights or larger outbreaks of violence, or to search for contraband. In a lockdown, inmates are confined to their cells, including for meals and medical attention. Showers and exercise are prohibited or restricted.