A Candy Bar Ended a Five-Hour Prison Standoff

The Prison Officers’ Association said that the prisoners' initial list of demands included drugs and "no more sleeping on mattresses."
mars chocolate candy bar
Photo: Getty Images

Last summer, an Irish candy delivery company surveyed more than 7,000 people to determine the country's favorite candy bar. The winner was determined to be the plain Cadbury Dairy Milk bar, followed by Galaxy Smooth Milk and the Kinder Bueno. Mars bars didn't crack the top eight—the ranking only included eight varieties, for some reason—but that doesn't seem to matter to the inmates at the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise.


According to The Irish Independent, two inmates at the medium-security prison took a third man hostage, and they threatened to cut off his ears with a homemade shiv if their list of demands wasn't met. (A fourth inmate was in the cell, but didn't participate in the hostage situation, nor did he make any ear-related requests.)

The Prison Officers’ Association said that the prisoners' list was "unclear," although they did demand drugs and "no more sleeping on mattresses." They also asked for tobacco, Swiss rolls, and Mars bars.

After officials determined what was happening –– and realized that the inmates were presumably serious about the ear thing –– they placed the entire facility on lockdown, and called for the emergency control and restraint team to start negotiating with the two men.

After five hours, their attempts at reaching an agreement had all been unsuccessful. That's about when the emergency control team offered the hostage takers a Mars bar if they'd give up their weapon.

It worked.

"Shortly before 8:30 p.m. staff forced entry into the cell and removed all four prisoners, meeting considerable resistance from at least two," the Prison Officers' Association said in a statement. "No staff were injured.”

A spokesperson for the Irish Prison Service said that the prisoners involved "received only minor injuries," but it doesn't seem like any body parts were lost or damaged. The upper management at the prison has still vowed to launch an investigation into the incident, and the Gardaí (police) have since been informed about the situation too.


This isn't the first time that officers have reached the "Fuck it, let's try giving him a snack" stage of crisis negotiation. Last July, an Oklahoma man refused to stop for an officer who was trying to pull him over for making an illegal turn. Robert Scott instead fled to his trailer and barricaded himself inside.

KFOR reports that after Scott informed them that he had a gun, cops from multiple agencies were called to surround the residence. He told the officers that he'd been on the way to get a burger when he realized he'd forgotten his phone at home—which is why he sped away from the cop who'd tried to stop him. For whatever reason, Pottawatomie County Sheriff's deputies sort-of bought that story, and asked Scott if he "still [wanted] that cheeseburger."

He did, and he was willing to walk out of the trailer for it. "So he came out and we talked about stuff while he was sitting there eating his hamburger, drinking his Coke, and the end result was, the decision was made that he was going to jail," Lt. Travis Sullivan told the station. "If that's what helps him get out, I'll go buy him a hamburger, I don't have a problem with that." (Yes, Robert Scott is a white dude, why do you ask?)

And in February 2019, a Florida man locked himself into his own home after officers were called over a potential assault. It was quickly determined that 33-year-old Evan Charles McLemore might hurt himself, so the SWAT team showed up at his place too.

After a four-hour standoff, McLemore surrendered after the cops offered him a slice of pizza.

If you're currently working as a crisis negotiator, it sounds like it might be worth throwing a few candy bars in your bag before heading to work. Keeping a couple of takeout menus on hand-doesn't sound like a bad idea either.