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Lessons Learned: The Oakdale/Atlanta Riots -Interviews With BOP (Bureau of Prisons) Wardens Johnson and Petrovsky

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 50 Issue: 3 Dated: (June 1988) Pages: 16-18,20,24-25,102,130
P L Millard; J R Johnson; J S Petrovsky
Date Published
8 pages
Lessons learned from the 1987 prison riots by Cuban detainees in the Federal Detention Center at Oakdale, La.; and the U.S. Penitentiary at Atlanta are discussed by Wardens J. R. Johnson and Joseph S. Petrovsky.
Factors contributing to the safe release of hostages are discussed including prior staff-inmate relationships, interagency coordination and cooperation, professionalism of the hostages, avoidance of the use of force, and skillful negotiators. Roles played by the various agencies involved are described, together with command and communications strategies. The experiences of the hostages during the riots and their treatment by the captors are described. The challenges associated with media coverage of the incidents are discussed, particularly the difficulties associated with the presence of media personnel inside the facilities during the hostage negotiations. Provisions made for the hostages after their release are detailed, including medical care, counseling, and financial assistance. Provisions for families of the hostages, during and after the incident also are discussed. The effects of the riots on hostages and staff morale in general are considered, and the beneficial effects of prior staff training on the outcomes are noted. Implications for staff training and for management of prison disorders also are discussed.