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DOC: Order restored after 'disturbance' at state penitentiary

South Dakota state penitentiary in Sioux Falls (file)
South Dakota Department of Corrections
South Dakota state penitentiary in Sioux Falls (file)

State officials say order has been restored following a disturbance at the state penitentiary in Sioux Falls, though many details about the incident remain unclear.

A statement from Secretary of Corrections Kellie Wasko said the disturbance Wednesday evening involved a staff assault. She said corrections officers followed protocol and resolved the situation. No other details were provided.

Reports from both Dakota News Now and South Dakota Searchlight indicate inmates were heard chanting “we want our phones.”

This comes weeks after the Department of Corrections suspended use of tablet computers at prison facilities "due to an investigation," according to a letter from the state Director of Prisons Amber Pirraglia.

Gov. Kristi Noem told the South Dakota Broadcasters Association Thursday the tablets were revoked because some inmates were using them for “nefarious” purposes. Officials have yet to determine whether the devices will be returned. Noem said inmates can still contact their loved ones by phone or mail.

Attorney General Marty Jackley released a statement saying his office is prepared to prosecute any inmates who may have harmed corrections officers or other inmates.