By Associated Press • 

Fights at Eastern Oregon prison lead to lockdown

PENDLETON — Fighting erupted at dinnertime at the state prison in Pendleton, and 46 inmates have been placed in disciplinary cells.

The Oregon Department of Corrections said a series of fights broke out about 5:30 p.m. Monday in the dining room, leading to a lockdown in part of the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution.

Melees continued breaking out after dinner, leading to a complete lockdown. One inmate had to leave the grounds for treatment but was returned on Tuesday. Others were treated on-site.

“There was no forewarning,” said prison spokesman Ron Miles, adding that the prison is still working to figure out what led to the violence.

In a statement Tuesday, officials said the prison was running on “modified operations,” and outside visits were cancelled.

Miles said the lockdown could end as early as Tuesday afternoon. The prison is a medium-security facility with 1,700 men in custody.

Miles said the 46 men involved in the fighting have been assigned one- or two-man cells in the disciplinary segregation wing. In the immediate aftermath of the fights, authorities had to ensure they weren't putting adversaries in a single cell.

Miles said the prison looks at inmates’ histories and even questions the men as to whether they will be able to cohabit peacefully.

“In some cases, it's known associates, someone they may already have some relationship with,” Miles said.

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