SPARTA, Ga. — Investigators believe a fight that sent a dozen inmates from Hancock State Prison to the hospital was gang-related and organized using cell phones brought illegally into the facility, state prison officials said Saturday.
Department of Corrections spokeswoman Kristen Stancil said that prisoners in a medium-security tent city on the prison grounds left their tents, which have solid walls similar to military tents, and vandalized a living area. Several assaults were also reported in the main prison.
Stancil said she could not comment on what started the fight or divulge more details on the suspected use of cell phones because of an ongoing investigation. Officials did not immediately identify the inmates who were taken to the hospital or comment on their conditions. No prison staffers were hurt, Stancil said.
Correction officials have limited movement inside the prison, which Stancil said has been secured. About 150 of the 250 inmates in the tent city are being sent to other prisons around the state.
Authorities sent six specially trained tactical squads to the prison and four police dog units to respond to the fight. The Georgia State Patrol, the Sparta Police Department and the Hancock County Sheriff’s office also assisted.
The prison, roughly 50 miles northeast of Macon, houses men convicted of felonies.
Earlier this week, corrections officials said there was a large fight inside the Telfair State Prison in Helen. Three inmates were taken to a hospital.