Nearly a dozen inmates were injured in falls or fights after a power outage plunged a privately operated jail in Indianapolis into darkness early Monday and a backup generator failed to kick on, officials said.
Crews with Indianapolis Power & Light had reportedly disconnected a power line in the area that had an ice accumulation when the outage hit Marion County Jail II just after 3:30 a.m., Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal said.
“From our understanding, IPL was tracking down problems in their line and they needed to disconnect the line to deal with the ice,” he said. “In doing so it shut the power off. The generator failed to come back on.”
Forestal said the jail’s generator is checked weekly.
While the power was out, eight inmates were sent to a hospital after suffering broken bones or minor injuries in either in falls or fights that broke out among inmates in the darkness, Forestal said. Three other inmates were treated at the jail for lesser injuries, and no inmates were critically injured.
At the time of the power outage, Forestal said 1,226 inmates were inside the jail, which is located on the east side of downtown Indianapolis. The jail is privately operated by CoreCivic, which has a contract to house up to 1,233 adult male inmates.
A telephone message was left Monday morning seeking comment from Indianapolis Power & Light.
The jail’s power was out for a total of about 10 minutes between about 3:30 a.m. and about 4:10 a.m. as the power repeatedly came on and off, said Katie Carlson, a public information officer for the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.
Unlike the Marion County Jail, which is located in downtown Indianapolis and is run by the sheriff’s department, the Marion County Jail II does not house women or juveniles, she said.