ON APRIL 27, 1968, the Federal Reformatory, El Reno, Okla, experienced the worst outbreak of violence in its history. The reformatory is a maximum security institution for male federal offenders between the ages of 18 and 26. Approximately 300 of the 900 inmates rioted. Using baseball bats, golf clubs, and horseshoes as weapons, they caused $7,000 property damage and injured numerous officers. Three officers were hospitalized for treatment of facial lacerations, a brain concussion, and a fractured arm.
Postriot statements by officers and inmates indicated that the intent of a small number of rioters was to inflict severe physical injury on staff members. A number of officers felt their lives had been saved by the intervention of an even smaller number of inmates who interposed themselves between the attackers and the defenseless officer or officers. Investigations identified 17 inmates as assaulting officers and
Skelton WD. Prison RiotAssaulters vs Defenders. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;21(3):359-362. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740210103015