Standoff Called Longest in Decades
Lynn Ducey, The Associated Press
BUCKEYE, Ariz. (AP) -- A prison standoff that stretched to 12 days
Thursday could be the lengthiest prison hostage situation in the
United States in at least 50 years, an expert said.
Other standoffs include an 11-day incident in 1987, when Cuban
detainees took control of a penitentiary in Atlanta and held more
than 100 hostages. Inmates in Lucasville, Ohio, also staged an 11-day
standoff in 1993, taking 12 guards hostage to stop mandatory
Both ended in negotiated surrenders.
Robert McCrie, a professor of law and police science at John Jay
College of Criminal Justice in New York, said the standoff at Arizona
State Prison Complex-Lewis was probably the longest in at least five
Negotiators spoke briefly to the female hostage Wednesday.
"The indications are that she is doing OK," said Alan Ecker, a
spokesman for the state Department of Corrections. He offered no
Authorities were trying to ensure the hostage's safety, corrections
spokesman Michael Murphy said Thursday.
"Because we value the life of that officer so dearly, it will take as
long as it takes," Murphy said.
The two inmates in the high-security section of the prison took two
officers hostage in a guard tower before dawn on Jan. 18. The other
officer, a man, was released Saturday.
Prison officials have released few details about the officers, the
inmates or how the takeover happened, saying they don't want to hurt
Negotiators have either spoken to or seen the female officer at least
six times over the course of the ordeal at the 4,400-inmate facility
west of Phoenix.
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The standoff began after an inmate attacked a guard in a kitchen
area. That prisoner and another inmate then got into an observation
tower where the two guards were stationed. The guard tower, in the
middle of the prison grounds, is believed to be stocked with weapons.