All was quiet Friday at the Utah State Prison annex in Cedar City. But that wasn't the case Thursday night as inmates spent several hours yelling, banging on their cell doors and otherwise raising a racket in protest over increased security.
"The situation was never out of control," said Department of Corrections spokesman Dave Franchina. "It was noisy, but never out of control."However, a specially trained riot control team from the Utah State Prison in Draper responded to the Cedar Cedar facility, forcing their way into four cells of those identified as agitators. Three surrendered without incident and a fourth had to be forcibly subdued.
All four have been returned to the Utah State Prison for disciplinary action, Franchina said.
The disturbance began about 7:15 p.m. Thursday and was restricted to the section of the facility housing state prison inmates. Inmates were protesting what Franchina called a "modified lockdown" that was implemented last week after three inmates escaped from a prison yard.
The men escaped April 7 by cutting through a chain-link fence in an exercise yard. They were captured 19 hours later by a Utah Highway Patrol trooper who spotted them trying to hitch a ride at a truck stop 10 miles north of the prison.
Since then, investigators have been interviewing inmates and inspectors have been going through the facility to check for security weaknesses.
"They've been shaking down the facility, looking for any tools that might have been used to help the escapees out," Franchina said. "The inmates are getting tired of it. They haven't received the commissary privileges they thought they should, they haven't had the exercise periods they thought they should.
The disturbance was nothing more than inmates making noise. There was no damage to any facilities and no one was injured, Franchina said.
As a precaution, Cedar City officials removed all the furniture from the common area between the cells, stripping the facility of anything that could be used as a weapon. Now that furnishings have been removed, prison officials are using the opportunity to have inmates thoroughly clean the walls and strip the floors.