Arizona Dept. of Corrections Hostage Situation Case Study by Nicky

Arizona Dept. of Corrections Hostage Situation
An analysis of the Arizona Dept. of Corrections 2004 hostage situation.
# 148870 | 1,141 words | 5 sources | APA | 2011 | US
Published on Nov 10, 2011 in Criminology (General)

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The paper describes how two convicts, Ricky K. Wassenaar and Steven Coy, assaulted prison guards and took control of the tower. The paper looks at the fifteen days of negotiations and analyzes the weaknesses in the prison security system crisis that allowed the two escapees to get as far as they did. The paper suggests recommendations for the problems identified.

Taking Hostages
Taking the Tower
Fifteen Days of Negotiations
Analysis and Findings

From the Paper:

"At 3:15 am on January 18, 2004, Ricky K. Wassenaar, an inmate, entered the kitchen area of the Lewis Prison Complex in Arizona, where a female civilian and a male security guard were talking and making pancakes. Steven Coy, a second convict, came in right behind Wassenaar and blocked the door. Wassenaar displayed his "shank" (home-made knife) and told the two employees it was an "escape" and he told the male guard to take off his shirt and boots. The female employee was tied up, Wassenaar shaved off his beard and put on the prison guard's uniform. An hour after first entering the kitchen, he exited to try to gain access to the prison security tower. As soon as he left, Coy sexually assaulted the female civilian employee.
"At the same time, Wassenaar approached the security gate to the tower, presented his stolen security badge, and was buzzed in by one of the guards in the tower who thought he was another security officer. By policy, the tower guards were unarmed and Wassenaar overpowered the male guard by striking him with a 30-inch soup ladle he had brought with him from the kitchen. The female guard was handcuffed. Then both guards were forced to tell Wassenaar where the weapons were and how to operate the security control panel."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Associated Press. (2004, March 4). Arizona prison standoff probe blames past decisions in part. Retrieved May 30, 2009, from
  • Baker, J. (2004). Anatomy of a hostage negotiation: An interview with a primary negotiator. Retrieved May 31, 2009, from The Negotiator Magazine:
  • Epler, P., & Rushton, B. (2004, February 19). Federal judge questions credibility of Arizona department of corrections director. Retrieved May 29, 2009, from
  • NICIC. (2004). Preliminary finding and recommendations: The morey unit hostage incident. Retrieved May 29, 2009, from National Institute of Corrections Information Center (NICIC):
  • Skinner, E. (2005, February 4). Low pay, poor training, large turnover major causes of DOC hostage situation. Retrieved May 29, 2009, from National Coalition of Public Safety Officers:

Cite this Case Study:

APA Format

Arizona Dept. of Corrections Hostage Situation (2011, November 10) Retrieved October 19, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Arizona Dept. of Corrections Hostage Situation" 10 November 2011. Web. 19 October. 2020. <>