Riot Prompts Georgia Correctional Officers to Quit

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At least two Georgia correctional officers quit and others are considering it after a violent riot at Ware State Prison over the weekend. Interviews with guards and inmates suggest short staffing in part due to coronavirus left the prison vulnerable. What happened could be a cautionary tale for other Georgia prisons facing the same pandemic and tensions, they say, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. “The reason for my resignation is we are too short-staffed to safely run the prison,” said Danyelle Campos, a guard at the prison for nine months. “Too many officers are being put in unnecessary risk and nothing is being done.” Inmates took advantage of malfunctioning doors and walked out of their rooms, according to three guards. Prisoners then attacked guards and took their keys. One guard was locked in a cell and hit in the head, while another was beaten and stabbed before inmates used the keys to let out others who were locked up. Guards were beaten and stabbed and at least three prisoners were hurt before the situation was deemed under control at 1 a.m. Sunday.

Correctional officers said a golf cart was torched, windows were broken and inmates seized gas masks, riot shields, officers’ radios, and at least one Taser, which was fired at officers during the mayhem. Prisoners have been upset because the facility was placed on lockdown after a man serving time for manslaughter was killed in what officials said was a fight with another prisoner. Robert Wilson, 10 years into a 20-year sentence, was killed on July 17. Like prisoners in other Georgia facilities, those at Ware State say they have been afraid the prison system wasn’t protecting them from COVID-19. Nearly 1,000 inmates in Georgia prisons have tested positive and 33 have died.

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