Portage maximum security facility in lockdown, now in eighth day

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PORTAGE, Wis. (WISC) -- Families are trying to determine what's caused a lockdown at the Columbia Correctional Institute (CCI) in Portage. The lockdown is in its eight day Monday, and family members can't contact their loved ones inside.

"They said the institution was on lockdown. So I called back to ask about the visits, and they said visits are on restriction until further notice," said Tenesha Leflore, wife to one inmate and sister to another.

Leflore says she's been visiting her husband there for ten years. She goes to see him at least three times a week and gets calls from him multiple times a day. But now, she got a letter from her husband Friday, which says they're not even allowed to take showers.

The Department of Corrections wouldn't comment on the investigation that's sparked the lockdown, but they did issue this statement in response:

"CCI was placed in lockdown status to ensure a thorough search of the institution could be conducted. Due to the ongoing process at CCI we aren't commenting on the reason for the lockdown as it could compromise the integrity and safety of the search or any potentially related investigations. Inmates have received all meals in their cell including at least one hot meal per day. Showers for inmates will continue on a routine basis for the duration of the search. Inmate visitation is suspended and the institution will remain on lockdown until the thorough search has been completed."

The DOC also says lockdowns like this are usually done to rid of any contraband that may have been brought in, but they did not comment if that was the reason for this particular lockdown.