CONCORD, NH – The NH Department of Corrections reports that at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 22, 2020, there was a disturbance within the Close Custody Unit (CCU) of the New Hampshire State Prison for Men.
CCU residents initially refused to go back into their cells after returning from their meal. After discussions with unit officers, all the residents returned to their cells. A smaller group of the residents in that housing unit chose to escalate their actions, with a few lighting small fires while others attempted to flood the unit. Both the fires and flooding was quickly addressed and mitigated by on-site staff.
The CCU is one of five classifications for security, second only to maximum security and includes extensive lock-down time and little movement within the housing unit. Limited activity beyond work or school hours.
Members of the Departments Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) were called in to assist with the removal of residents that continued attempts to escalate the situation. Due to the quick and professional response of all staff involved, the situation was quelled and contained to that one specific unit without the need for assistance from any outside agencies. One resident and one employee sustained minor injuries during the incident.
The root cause of the disturbance remains unknown at this time and the situation remains under investigation by the Department. The Close Custody Unit remains in a relative state of lock-down with limited movement by residents, while all remaining units within the NH State Prison for Men continue to operate as normal. The CCU where this disturbance occurred was under its full capacity rating at the time of the incident because the department had proactively set aside an entire tier in this housing unit for medical isolation in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, which the department has not experienced to date.