Investigation into Cascade County jail riot continues

Posted at 4:11 PM, Aug 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-10 18:11:44-04

(GREAT FALLS) The "N" pod is still on lockdown after inmates rioted in the Cascade County Detention Center on July 28th.

During a press conference on Friday, Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards says the investigation is taking more time than they expected.

At the time of the riot, the jail population was 484 inmates.

Edwards believes that an assault in the early morning hours might have caused the tensions to grow within N pod.

“We were trying to move some inmates out of there and another inmate went to attack the inmate we were moving. Than a detention officer was assaulted in that as well,” Edwards says.

He says he does not believe the assault because the riot but it did not help the riot from starting.

At the time of the riot there were 43 inmates in a pod that is only supposed to hold 28.

Commander Dan O’Fallon says they have been able to rule out some of the inmates from being involved form watching video of the morning of July 28th.

Six inmates went into lockdown in their cells when the riot broke out.

Though they still have to track the movements of 37other inmates who were in N pod at the time of the riot.

“We have two different cameras, two different views of the housing faculty. We will watch one camera for 20 minutes because that is how much time we had before they broke the cameras,” O’Fallon said,

O’Fallon says during riot they lost the TV’s, the cameras, all the panels, the entire sprinkler system was also destroyed.

The inmates also broke the doors and O’Fallon says they have only been able to temporally fix them at this time.  

As of right now the damages are estimates to be $22,300 and that number could go up as repairs start.

“Some of those, even if they are demanded not a suspect, it could turn that they turn into a suspect or an active participate because they may have incited a riot. They may have encouraged people riot through their actions or there variable communication with each other. So there is a lot to look at,” Edwards said.

Edwards says that the inmates who were a part of the riot have been moved around within the jail as they investigate.

“We are working very closely with the Cascade County Attorney’s Office on possible charges. No charges have been filed officially filed as of yet,” Edwards said.

Edwards says there is no end date in set for when the investigation will be over but he believe the riot started due to the overcrowding.

As of Friday, the jail is down to 445 inmates but that it still 100 over where they should be at.

“We have had a couple of transports of federal inmates out. We have taken many of the inmates that were here as DOC holds we have filled up Hill County, Fort Benton, Broadwater County, Roosevelt County, and we have filled up CCAS with as many people they can take,” O’Fallon said.

O’Fallon says that the jail is as low as it can go right now and tensions are better.

Though they still have a long way to go to fix the overcrowding problem that has plagued Montana’s detentions centers.

Edwards says the mandate of not talking nonviolent misdemeanor offenders is working.

Though Edwards says there has been a lot of misconceptions about the mandate that was put into place.

“If a person is a public is a safety risk, violent, or a felon they are coming to jail. Those misdemeanors that maybe did not fit the criteria of coming to jail under this mandate, if they start harassing law enforcement or causing problems we’ll make room for them,”

Edwards says this is not a free for all and officers have the right to bring them up to the jail.