Unit at Silverdale correctional facility remains on lockdown Sunday after altercation

Silverdale Detention Center was on lockdown Sunday, March 25, 2018, after an "inmate-on-inmate altercation Saturday night.

A unit at Silverdale correctional facility remained on lockdown Sunday after an inmate-on-inmate altercation Saturday night.

"Inmates in the unit where the incident took place will remain in their cells with limited, escorted movement until further notice," spokeswoman Nikole Kanavos said in an email Sunday afternoon.

Two inmates were taken off-site for medical treatment of injuries that were not life threatening after the altercation that took place at around 9 p.m. They have since returned.

photo Silverdale correctional facility is shown in this Oct. 25, 2017, staff file photo

A third inmate also was injured, but that inmate was not transported off-site for treatment. No injuries to staff members were reported.

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office spokesman Matt Lea said Sunday that sheriff's investigators continue to work with the personnel at CoreCivic, the private prison contractor that has managed Silverdale since 1984, to investigate the incident.

"The Facility is working to ensure the safest environment exists prior to removing the unit lockdown ...," Kanavos said.

In December, the Times Free Press reported an inmate was charged with assault and sexual battery after he allegedly threatened and groped his cellmate.

In that incident, Leonard Watts, 46, allegedly assaulted his cellmate at around 7 p.m. Oct. 12, according to court documents. The victim told staff Watts said he had been told to beat the victim down, but the victim said he didn't want to fight. Watts then said there was a second option - the victim could have sex with him - but the victim said he didn't want to do that either, according to the court documents.

The man said Watts then pushed him against a wall and reached his hand into his underpants, groping the victim's buttocks. The victim began to yell, causing Watts to stop, but Watts said if he reported it he would hurt the man and sexually assault him again.

That incident came several months after another inmate was charged with sexual battery after he allegedly assaulted his cellmate at the time. The victim in that case said Titus Heard, 28, started making sexual advances toward him after he was placed in his cell on June 12. He said Heard told him he looked like the rapper Nicki Minaj.

The victim said Heard also grabbed his buttocks underneath his underwear, and when he tried to get the attention of correctional officers by yelling from the cell door, Heard punched and began strangling him. The victim said he may have passed out at some point during the fight.

It's not yet clear what the nature of Saturday's altercation was, and Kanavos did not state whether a cause for the altercation had been identified.

Contact staff writer Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.