W. Pa. prison lockdown ongoing in staff assaults

SOMERSET, Pa. (AP) — A lockdown is in its second day at a southwestern Pennsylvania state prison where officials say inmates have attacked staff members twice in the last two weeks.

Heidi Sroka, the spokeswoman for the State Correctional Institution-Somerset, says the lockdown and prison-wide search began Thursday and was to continue Friday. She says it was prompted by an inmate assault on a staff member last week and another this week.

State police are investigating those incidents but have yet to charge anyone, and state prison officials aren’t identifying the staff members or the injuries they reportedly suffered.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Susan McNaughton says lockdowns and searches are a common response to inmate attacks on staff.

Emergency response teams from the prison and other state facilities are searching for weapons, drugs and other contraband.

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