DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) — The Bristol County House of Corrections made progress over the weekend cleaning and repairing the housing unit damaged by inmates during an hours-long standoff last month.
Bristol County Sheriff Paul Heroux said the facility’s maintenance team spent 16 hours over the weekend clearing the housing unit of trash and debris, as well as damaged furniture and equipment.
“Our maintenance guys did an amazing job,” Heroux said while visiting the housing unit Monday morning. “From Friday to Monday, it was like night and day.”
The Bristol County House of Corrections provided images from before and after the housing unit was cleaned. (See more before and after images below.)
The inmates caused nearly $200,000 worth of damage throughout the six-hour standoff, according to Heroux. The inmates shattered windows, tore apart bed frames, ripped security cameras off the ceiling and barricaded the doors with mattresses.
Now that the housing unit is cleaned, Heroux said the maintenance team will being reaching out for estimates to repair windows, doors, cameras and sprinklers.
More than a dozen inmates pushed back last month when correctional officers attempted to move them to another cellblock. Those so-called “ringleaders” then riled up their fellow inmates, prompting the outnumbered correctional officers to back out of the housing unit for their safety.
The correctional officers eventually took the housing unit back by force and the inmates immediately surrendered.
Heroux said the correctional officers were shuffling inmates around so their cells could be modified as part of his overarching plan to reduce the risk of suicides and close the controversial Ash Street jail. The modifications include installing toilets in cells, adding locks on doors and making the bed frames suicide-resistant.
Heroux said nearly 50% of the prison’s cells don’t have toilets inside, meaning the doors can’t legally be locked. He believes the main reason why the inmates pushed back was because they didn’t want to be moved to a housing unit with locked cells.
The goal is to repair the housing unit, which could take months, before renovating the cells.
Heroux said 20 inmates will be charged in connection with the standoff, though it’s unclear what those charges will be. The instigators have since been separated and transferred to other jails, while the remaining inmates were moved as originally planned.
More before and after images of the damaged housing unit: