Inmates surrender after demanding cigarettes, dinner in prison siege

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A tense stand-off at South Australia’s largest prison has ended peacefully after 17 prisoners barricaded themselves inside the gymnasium.

The unarmed prisoners reportedly demanded cigarettes and dinner after sending Port Augusta Prison into lock down around 3pm on Friday.

Department for Correctional Services spokesperson Jackie Bray said officials took no risks with the prisoners.

“The incident was contained within the gymnasium area of the secure custody zone, and the rest of the prison was locked down as a security measure,” she said.

Port Augusta Prison. Source: 7News
Port Augusta Prison. Source: 7News

“Shortly before 10.30pm the incident was peacefully resolved. A total of 17 prisoners were removed from the gymnasium to secure cells within the facility.”

No one was injured during the seven-hour stand-off, with prisoners damaging a table tennis table, table and chairs.

There are unconfirmed claims some of the prisoners were hostages of other inmates during the stand-off.

Police, paramedics, firefighters and police negotiators were called to the scene. Four of the prisoners exited the gym without force around 10.30pm on Friday night, with the rest of the inmates following.

Port Augusta Prison. Source: 7News
Port Augusta Prison. Source: 7News

“The incident was brought under control without the use of physical force,” Ms Bray said.

“I commend the staff of Port Augusta Prison for their skilled and professional conduct in resolving this matter in a safe and secure way.”

A police investigation is now underway into the matter. So far no charges have been laid.

It’s the latest incident at the prison, and comes just weeks after three inmates were able to tunnel under a fence and hot-wire a truck before they were caught at the facility.

It’s been 18 months since Jamie Lee Milton, and four other prisoners, caused $110,000 damage to the prison after he was denied a shower after exercising.

In that incident, the group climbed on the Port Augusta Prison roof and damaged 46 windows and two airconditioning units in March 2015.

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