Inmates released two correctional officers they had held for a week in the tower at the state prison complex. The inmates captured the officers a week ago after the two officers tried to quell a food fight in the main dining room. The food fight erupted when the prisoners discovered that their candy ration had been cut in half. The candy is a popular bartering item. Inmates trade it for cigarettes, cigars, magazines, stationery, legal dictionaries, and other items. Prison officials said it was necessary to cut back on this luxury item in order to provide basic items, like soap and razors and toilet paper.
The prisoners went berserk over the reduction. They threw food, plates, and silverware at the doors, windows, and guards. Then they grabbed two guards and hauled them up to the tower. Once they had the tower door secured, they sent messages to prison officials demanding big bags of candy in exchange for sparing the guards' lives. The warden complied with their demands. After a week of negotiations, the prisoners approved a deal which restored their candy ration, but in return the administration said they would have to reduce daily soap allotments by 75 percent.