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The Morey Unit Hostage Incident
By Arizona, Office of the Governor
Published: 06/01/2004

IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS of Sunday, January 18, 2004, inmates Ricky K. Wassenaar, serving 26 years in prison, and Steven J. Coy, serving a life sentence, attempted to escape from the Morey Unit of the Lewis Prison Complex located near Buckeye, Arizona, 50 miles southwest of Phoenix.

The Morey Unit, which opened in January 1999, is a cellblock-style facility that houses 840 inmates (designed capacity: 800). The unit houses a diverse population of Level 2, 3 and 4 inmates, including "protective segregation" inmates, i.e., those who are considered dangerous or in personal danger are segregated from the general prison population. The protective segregation population, and the number of inmates serving life sentences (100), at Morey is the largest of any unit in Arizona's corrections system.

The two inmates subdued the two correctional officers on duty and seized the unit's tower triggering a 15-day standoff, the longest prison hostage situation in the nation's history.

019617 / Kutak VF 850 Prelimi


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