Crossroads Correctional Facility, Cameron, Missouri
May 12, 2018
After recreation and programming are cut due to staffing shortages, prisoners stage a sit-down strike–sitting peacefully and refusing to follow orders from staff. According to the Missouri DOC, 209 prisoners participate in the protest. A guard later repeats a conversation he had with a prisoner to local media: “We are going to start peaceful and we are going to let you guys know something is wrong,” said the officer . “And he said, ‘well, from there we don’t know where it is going to turn.'”
The conflict escalates into a full-blown uprising in which prisoners hot-wire a fork lift to break down the doors in one facility and destroy infrastructure including the kitchen, cafeteria area, storage areas, staff offices and a Missouri Vocational Enterprises factory.
“It shut down a third of our institution and a building the size of two football fields was completely trashed on the inside,” said the corrections officer. “There is no way to bounce back from that.” According to the Missouri DOC, 78 prisoners participated in the property destruction and 131 surrendered to staff.
From KMBC News 9: “The DOC said property damage in this incident was extensive. Graffiti, damage to security cameras, and damage to equipment and machinery throughout the building was noted, along with destruction of food supplies.”
Initial estimates of damages are in the millions. There are no reported injuries.
According to Fox 4 KC: “Employees who were inside the prison during the riot said one of the most alarming things is that four gangs inside the prison — who usually hate and fight each other — actually banded together to organize and pull it off.”
Shortly after the uprising, a prisoner at Crossroads released the following statement to supporters:
My homies call me Tiny G. from Crossroads C. Missouri. A place known in here as the ‘only destination for hell.’ We send G love to all the homies standing up. We had no demands here at Crossroads. Inmates of every race and non-Gs participated.
We only wanted them to allow rehabilitation programs and back recreation time. Anne L. Precythe has not heard our words to be treated right in years. Staff acted like we were kids to be punished. The admin want all the Gs to kill each other like in South Carolina. [Referring to prison facilitated inmate slaughter at the Lee Correctional Facility. Read an interview with prisoners about that here.]
This allows staff to justify locking inmates down for money raises. Inmates did not hurt the staff intentionally. Staff know how badly inmates here are being treated. All the Gs here will be joining, with other inmates, the strike August 21 throughout the state. Staff already know. August 21 was wrote on walls.
We are calling on all Gs to join us as one around the Nation on August 21. Stage more sit ins. Make peace for this. The Gs here are contacting our lines in others states.
Gs are being transferred in state and placed on stg lockdown. Here at Crossroads inmates are being denied medical attention, showers, law library, visitation, and feeding on time. Our meals is bags of green baloney and hard biscuits. Can you call to ask why we are not getting hot meals, showers, medical, and access to the law library for court deadlines. Staff say we may be like this for 2 months.
In the aftermath of the uprising, DOC employees speaking to the media outlet KQ 2 state that the situation at Crossroads is “a pressure cooker.” They continue: “Sources said they can hear the bomb ticking. It’s a prison understaffed bursting at its seams with angry inmates.”
“They are fed up,” Patti said. “And they are scared.”
Sources later leak documents to KQ 2 showing that portions of the electric fence at Crossroads had been down for months.
“Employee says staffing conditions at Cameron prison led to riot“, KSBH Kansas City, May 14, 2018.
“Cameron prison officers knew riot was coming, but administration did nothing to stop it,” Fox News 4, May 14, 2018.
“Crews still working to assess thousands of dollars in damages done after prison riot in Cameron, Mo.“, KMBC News 9, May 15, 2018.
“Inmates took control of forklift in uprising”, NewsPress Now, May 15, 2018.
“Facebook Post from Oakland IWOC page”, Oakland IWOC, May 16, 2018.
“Portion of prison’s electric fence down for months,” KQ 2, July 11, 2018.