Prison spokesman: Arkansas inmates take 2 guards hostage

TUCKER, Ark. — Two correctional officers at a maximum-security prison in central Arkansas were held hostage Friday by a pair of inmates, a prison system spokesman said.

The officers, who suffered cuts and bruises, were freed a short time later, said Arkansas Department of Correction spokesman Solomon Graves. The incident occurred in a housing area at the Maximum Security Unit in Tucker, 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Little Rock.

Graves said the two inmates were taken into custody after "a use of force." He did not specify what kind of force was used.

It wasn't immediately clear what led to the hostage situation. Graves said Arkansas State Police were investigating.

Several violent incidents have occurred at Arkansas prisons, prompting investigations by the Correction Department and state police. On Nov. 2, two guards suffered minor injuries while trying to seize contraband from inmates at the Delta Regional Unit near Dermott in the southeastern corner of the state.

A group of inmates refused to return to their cells on Oct. 20 at the Ouachita River Unit near Malvern. The standoff was resolved with no injuries.

On Sept. 28, three guards were assaulted at two facilities on the same day. Two guards were assaulted by several inmates at the Varner Unit hours after a guard was assaulted by a prisoner at the Maximum Security Unit, also known as Tucker Max.

On Aug. 7, several inmates held three officers in an area of Tucker Max for three hours before releasing them and surrendering.