BOSTON (CBS) — After a riot broke out at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Facility in Shirley on Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker praised prison leadership for their handling of the situation.

On Monday, the maximum-security prison went on lock down after two gang-related fights broke out in the P1 housing unit, ramping up until 46 inmates refused to return to their cells. Prison guards were evacuated as inmates used makeshift weapons and fire extinguishers to destroy sprinkler systems, computers, windows, and more prison property.

Gov. Baker told WBZ News Radio 1030’s Lana Jones that the state’s prison populations are declining, and he thinks corrections officers are well distributed among facilities.

“Our prison populations have gone down by about 1,300 inmates, almost 13 percent, since we took office from a variety of things. Some of it has to do with drug courts and diversion on the front end, and some of it has to do with just doing a better job of active policing in the community to begin with,” Baker said. “We’ve done a pretty good job I think of deploying our correctional officers, but that’s obviously something we’re always talking to our correctional officers about and the folks at the (Department of Corrections).”

In the face of the uprising, Baker said he thinks prison officials and guards reacted well.

“I give tremendous praise to the DOC folks and to the correctional officers for the fact that they handled the thing, I would argue, with a tremendous amount of poise,” he said. “They followed protocol and in the end, while there was damage, nobody did get hurt, nobody died, nobody was seriously injured. We can always replace the furniture.”




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