MICHIGAN CITY | Indiana State Prison is back to normal following an extended lockdown triggered by a knife fight among rival gang members.
ISP superintendent BIll Wilson said the lockdown in effect since June 17 was lifted without restrictions July 19.
"We resumed normal operations completely," Wilson said.
Disciplinary action is being taken against offenders involved in the conflict, but no decision has been made yet on whether any criminal charges will be pursued.
"We're not that far into the investigation yet," Wilson said.
He would not disclose the full extent of the disciplinary measures taken but revealed several inmates were taken out of the general prison population and placed into various types of segregation.
Seven inmates from rival gangs — also referred to as "Security Threat Groups" — engaged in a conflict involving homemade knives.
Wilson said prison staff members were able to diffuse the situation in less than five minutes without anyone being injured.
It happened in an area of the prison known as "Main Street," the walkway used by inmates from their cells to the recreation area.
Among the purposes of the lockdown was to restrict the movement of inmates so the prison could be searched for any additional weapons and determine who belongs to the gangs and the make up of the leadership of each gang.
Wilson said the lockdown was prolonged mainly because of the players involved in the conflict.
"We were concerned more about who were the combatants not the fight itself," said Wilson, who said there are inmates who belong to gangs like the Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings and Vice Lords.
Gang members in prison operate similar to those on the streets in terms of marking their territory within the prison and trying to have contraband such as drugs smuggled into the facility, he said.
Wilson said additional weapons and other contraband like cell phones turned up during the lockdown.
He would not divulge how many but said the amount was no different than what turns up during a normal "shakedown" of the prison, which happens on a regular basis.
"We just have to constantly pay attention to the population and what they are up to," Wilson said.