Fairbanks Correctional Center, Fairbanks, Alaska
August 17, 2017

After an unexplained and unexpected change in prison policy regarding which prisoners are assigned to which housing units, a group of approximately 15 prisoners refused to return to their cells and took control of a section of the prison in protest.

The prisoners refused to surrender, broke out windows and poured soap on the floor. After tactical response teams fired tear gas into the unit, the prisoners surrendered.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner interviewed two prisoners involved in the uprising:

“Two of the men involved in the riot told the Daily News-Miner in October that the incident was a nonviolent demonstration precipitated by an unexpected and unexplained change in the housing environment. Robert Gentleman III and Marcus Dejuan Howard said inmates facing long jail sentences in the facility’s A-wing, where two inmates share a cell, were told they were moving to the dormitory space. The dormitory is a shared space with more than a dozen bunks and is usually used for inmates facing shorter sentences, according to the men.

Gentleman and Howard said they and other inmates were out in a day room when they got the news and demanded an explanation for why they were being moved. They said they refused to go back into their cells when they weren’t given an explanation.”

Following the uprising, 13 prisoners are charged with one count each of felony riot and felony third-degree criminal mischief.

Citations:

Troopers help put down riot at Fairbanks prison“, KTVA, Associated Press, August 18, 2017.

Riot charges possible after Fairbanks inmates create disturbance“, KTUU, August 17, 2017.

Prisoners charged in riot, occupation of Fairbanks Correctional Center“, KTUU, March 16, 2018.

13 charged in 2017 riot at Fairbanks prison”, Daily News-Miner, March 16, 2018.

Thirteen indicted in 2017 prison riot“, Web Center 11, March 15, 2018.

Jury convicts four on all charges in Fairbanks jail riot“, Daily News-Miner, July 17, 2018.

4 Fairbanks inmates convicted in 2017 prison riot“, Associated Press, July 17, 2018.