Official: Prisoners escaped solitary recreation areas

Arkansas' top prison official says two disturbances at a maximum security facility began when prisoners managed to escape solitary fenced in areas during their recreation breaks.

One disturbance involved three officers being held hostage by inmates.

Correction Department Director Wendy Kelley spoke to lawmakers on Monday about last week's incident at the Maximum Security Unit in Tucker. She says it began when two inmates escaped from their solitary recreation pens and followed two officers escorting another inmate inside.

The department has said an incident on July 22 that prompted a guard to fire warning shots into the air also involved inmates escaping the recreation cages.

Kelley told lawmakers the department will replace the solitary pens at the facility. A spokesman said temporary steps have been taken to strengthen the pens.