The unrest continued for a third day at Florida state prisons, as corrections officers — some of them armed — staged a show of force in an attempt to stave off an unspecified threat of violence this weekend.
All 148 prison facilities remained on lockdown Friday, and all able-bodied administrators and officers, including new cadets and probation and parole officers, were ordered to report to the state’s dangerously understaffed institutions.
Shakedowns, or searches, of nearly every dorm in every prison were underway, and officers seized a number of weapons and other contraband, such as cell phones, authorities said.
“It’s almost like we’re in hurricane mode. All days off have been canceled, it’s all hands on deck and they are going corner to corner of every prison to do shakedowns,’’ said John Rivera, president of the state Police Benevolent Association, the union representing corrections, probation and parole officers.
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There were some minor incidents overnight, at Holmes Correctional Institution and the Reception and Medical Center, said Michelle Glady, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections.
“Some inmates are unhappy,’’ Glady said, adding there were no reports of injuries or damage.
The agency said little about the exact nature of the threats that prompted the first statewide lockdown in memory. Veteran corrections officers — including some who have worked for the department for decades — told the Herald that they’ve never seen anything like it during their careers.
On Facebook, several officers expressed concerns.
“Please everyone tonight say a little prayer for our FDOC families. We are stretch[ed] out on OT [overtime] and we need all the prayers we can get,’’ one wrote.
So far, the department has said only that the lockdowns were sparked by “credible intelligence’’ that “small groups of inmates’’ were planning “disruptions.’’
Rivera said the show of force was likely in response to a direct threat against the lives of corrections officers.
Miami Herald staff writer Mary Ellen Klas contributed to this story.