The Georgia Department of Corrections charged 21-year-old Glenn McDowell with aggravated assault, obstruction and rioting in a penal institution. The incident happened on Sept. 23, when McDowell allegedly beat up a corrections officer, giving him a concussion and breaking his nose. But McDowell was not arrested for the crime until Saturday, the day he was supposed to get released from prison on his original charges.Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Go to prison. Fight an officer. Get out of prison. Meet a deputy. Go back to jail.
Do not pass go.
According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, that's how 21-year-old Glenn McDowell plays the game. After a three-year stint at Hays State Prison in Trion, McDowell was set for release Saturday.
But on the other side, a Chattooga County Sheriff's Office deputy waited to greet him with a pair of handcuffs. The deputy arrested McDowell on charges that he attacked a corrections officer four months ago. During the beating, McDowell allegedly gave the officer a concussion and broke his nose.
He was arrested Saturday on charges of rioting in a penal institution, aggravated battery and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
From the prison, the deputy took McDowell to jail. He waited there through the weekend and appeared in Chattooga County Magistrate Court on Monday morning, then returned to jail in lieu of a $25,000 bond. He remained behind bars Monday night.
According to the Department of Corrections, McDowell went to Hays State Prison after convictions in Dodge County for obstruction and attempting to escape the local jail in May 2010.
Then, on Sept. 23, McDowell apparently tried to lift pepper spray from corrections officer Daniel Brown's holster. According to an arrest warrant affidavit, McDowell then started punching the officer in the face and squeezing his throat.
McDowell refused to let go, according to the affidavit, pressing against Brown's throat until other officers jumped in. Brown then received treatment at Floyd Medical Center.
That was the first documented attack at Hays State Prison since officials overhauled security after four inmates were killed in an eight-week span ending last February. In December, three months after McDowell's alleged assault, another inmate was found dead inside a one-man cell, apparently a case of suicide.
With the violent outbreaks, the prison has struggled to find guards. Only about 80 percent of the available correctional officer positions were filled from July through November, according to the monthly reports that Hays officials send to the Georgia Department of Corrections.
After the September incident, the Department of Corrections applied for a warrant for McDowell's arrest, and Sheriff Mark Schrader said his department held onto it until Saturday. Officials wanted to wait until he finished his first sentence before taking him back to court.
According to state law, an inmate is guilty of rioting in a penal institution when he or she commits an unlawful act of violence while still locked up. Department of Corrections officials, however, resist putting that label on the September attack.
"There was an altercation that occurred between a few prisoners," spokeswoman Lisa Rodriguez-Presley said in an email. "However, to classify it as a riot is inaccurate as it suggests a large-scale event."
Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.