Prison protest 0601202

A crowd protests outside Lancaster County Prison on Monday, June 1, 2020. Protesters chanted "give them water," but the warden said inmates do have water.

Lancaster County Prison inmates aren't being denied water and hygiene products, Warden Cheryl Steberger said Monday, although water had been turned off Saturday for a few hours in one area after a dayroom of a housing unit was "trashed."

People protesting the death of George Floyd and police brutality on Monday afternoon stopped at the prison, where protesters chanted "Give them water" and someone inside could be heard yelling they didn't have water or hygiene products. 

Protesters had been at the prison over the weekend as well.

While inmates were never denied hygiene products, Steberger said water was turned off to one unit — not as punishment, but as a deterrent — because inmates had thrown a shampoo container filled with feces and urine-soaked toilet paper in a dayroom of a housing unit. In the past, inmates have flooded the dayroom, so staff turned the water off. 

Water was turned back on after the unit was cleaned, Steberger said.

Protesters agitating the prisoners results in "constant screaming," which in turn leads to call from neighbors, she said.

Steberger blamed Saturday's problems on inmates in half a unit, noting the other half had been cooperative.

"It's only 46 inmates" misbehaving, she said. The prison's population is 655 inmates.

While the individuals throwing the feces and urine could not be identified, there were individuals disciplined for other infractions during the incident, the warden said.

Steberger said she thanked inmates who did not get cause trouble and rewarded them with more time out of their cells.

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