Inmates Hospitalized after Fight at Federal Prison in Forrest City

FORREST CITY, AR - Two inmates at the medium-security federal prison in Forrest City were sent to a hospital after a fight broke out among prisoners last week.

Sterling Dawson, who is executive assistant to Warden Linda Sanders, disputed an account of the March 5 violence that the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper at Little Rock said was provided by three prison employees.

According to the newspaper, the prison employees told a reporter that the fighting was a large-scale gang battle involving about 40 inmates.  Dawson said no more than 15 inmates were involved, and no gang element was a factor.

Bryan Lowry, president of the Council of Prison Locals union, linked the violence to understaffing of guards at the prison.

Lowry says four of the inmates involved in the fight were seriously injured.

Dawson says staffing at the 1,500-bed prison isn't a problem.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)