Moore to the Story: Behind the Bars Part 2


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – What happens when you put the exact ingredients together and light a fuse?

The answer could be an explosion.

Every day correctional officers defuse potential explosions in their prisons.

News 10’s Rondrell Moore went digging to find out what happens when the fuse ignites behind prison walls.

It’s part two of his new series ‘Moore to the Story.’

There’s a thin line between law and order and potential chaos.

So, what happens when the scale tips?

Kevin Allen has been with the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility for years.

He’s seen his share of dangerous fights, and now he trains others on how to deal with them.

One video he showed us started with a tobacco ringmaster.

“So, as three offenders are sitting there, the three offenders he hired walked up and started to assault them,” Allen said.

It’s a minute and a half of chaos, and potential terror, especially for the only law enforcer in the area.

In the video, you can see the situation has gone critical, and he’s at their mercy.

“The fight lasted about one minute and 30 seconds before staff got in and was able to get everyone on lockdown,” Allen said.

It may not sound like a long time, but he says it’s more than enough for tragedy to hit.

“Worst case scenario, they could have turned on the staff member and assaulted him,” Allen said.

Thankfully that wasn’t the case.

Some of it, officials admit had to do with good fortune, but a lot of it was not by chance.

“They know every day that there’s a possibility that this could happen. They train for self-protection,” Allen said.

It’s training that’s critical for correctional officers.

For Officer James Crandall, it means following protocol to a T. That includes calling in help, and working with everyone, including inmates.

“It’s not just an us versus them. So much as just we’re all working together to keep this place safe and secure,” Crandall said.

With all of that said, Officers Allen and Crandall agree, sometimes human nature is just unpredictable.

Truth is, the video wasn’t the first, and it won’t be the last.

Sometimes officers get hurt, and worse.

“You can’t freeze, you definitely can’t…especially if you’re the last line of defense for other staff or anything like that. You have to understand…de-escalation is just as important, if not more when everybody’s talked down and calmed down…everybody’s going home for that,” Crandall said.

That’s the priority for everyone behind these prison walls.