Fourteen years ago I was 10 years old, and I did not know much of what was going on in the world around me. But today as I was walking into the kitchen, I heard the man on the radio say something about this date and some unhappy memories swept over me. Fourteen years ago today the Lucasville Prison Riot started that lasted from April the 11th to April the 21st.
My Dad worked for a local radio station and my Dad helped set up equipment to broadcast from the prison. My Dad spent many long days out in front of that prison and we spent our time at the station. Of course me being a kid, we (me and the daughter of one of my Dad's co-workers) ran and played at the radio station like it was one big play ground. In my mind I did not understand what was going, I did not know what a prison riot was.
Now I understand more since I have gotten older. The riot started all because some of the prisoners did not want to take their tuberculosis vaccinations and they all went insane. The riot broke out in the L-Block of the prison. My Dad told me that they had secretly went underground and placed mics to hear what was going on inside. This way the authorities could listen in and find out who the ringleaders were. One night when my Dad was at the station CBS called and needed a recording of prisoner George Skatzes making the demands. So they ask if my Dad could transmit it to them and they played it on the nightly news.
On April the 15Th, Correctional Officer Robert "Bob" Vallandingham was strangled to death. This was done to convince state officials to take the prisoners' demands seriously. Nine inmates lost their lives also. Thirteen correctional officers were held hostage. Five of the correctional officers were held the entire time of the siege. Finally the day of my brother's birthday, April the 21st the siege ended. Looking back now it was a terrible thing that happened and my heart goes out to Bob Vallandingham's wife and family. The worst part is the riot started on Easter Sunday and I know Vallandingham's wife feels that special love of her life missing every Easter.