A housing unit and administrative offices were destroyed by offenders at the Maryville Treatment Center during a riot on Dec. 31.
The incident and damage were confirmed by Karen Pojmann, the communications director for the Missouri Department of Corrections.
At about 10:20 p.m. that night, offenders were suspected of consuming intoxicating substances. When questioned by correctional officers, three offenders refused to cooperate and began destroying property in the housing unit. Other offenders joined the destruction, according to Pojmann.
The offenders continued to damage property as they moved to administrative offices.
“They proceeded to start tearing up one entire housing unit, which is three floors, and breaking windows,” said a DOC employee with knowledge of the incident, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. “Then they moved into the hallway and into some of the administration offices and tore some of them up pretty good. They actually got into the administration building and I know they got into the warden’s office and other offices up there and tore holes through the wall to get in.”
According to an MTC offender, who was not involved in the destruction and asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, the rioters took to the yard and used fire extinguishers to spray cameras and break out windows on offices and doors. They also tore up the administration building, smashing vending machines in the break room and busting computers in the warden’s office.
Damage continued at the other housing unit after staff left to assist with the initial riot.
“Doors were broken down to the counselor’s office, the walls marked up, the bulletin boards ripped off the walls, things like chairs, desks and wall-mounted racks were thrown out the window,” said the MTC offender via email.
The offender said that damage happened when officers were pulled away from the floor to assist down the hill. A door was ordered shut and locked and two floors of the housing unit were left alone with no correctional staff for an extended period of time, the offender alleged.
About 20 to 25 offenders were involved in the riot. At least 77 offenders immediately walked out and were relocated to another building when the destruction began, and 25 were present but not involved, according to Pojmann.
Local law enforcement were notified of the riot and responded to MTC. The DOC employee said they set a perimeter but didn’t enter the facility.
The damage done to the housing unit was so bad that it requires structural repairs and part of it is unlivable. About 25 offenders were transferred to disciplinary segregation units at other prison facilities. The rest of the offenders were moved to the other housing unit, according to Pojmann.
The estimated cost of the damage is $30,000. The incident is under investigation.