On Sunday, May 20th, 2012 there was a 9 hour prison riot at an Adams County Correctional Center run by private prison operator Correction Corporation of America located in Natchez, MS. Some reporters have mistakenly reported this as an immigration detention center because of the population that is housed inside. I just wanted to set the record straight. This facility was commissioned by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and is run by CCA. Like CCA's other prisons, it looks like it's in the middle of no where.
There are indeed illegal immigrants inside this facility but they are NOT being processed to be deported at this time. They are being held at this facility for federal crimes they have committed (some for illegal reentry after deportation). This story from Colorlines has the most accurate portrayal of what happened on Sunday.
It is understood that after the immigrants in this type of facility have finished serving their sentence in prison would then be transferred to a detention center while they wait to be deported, much like the planned Southwest Ranches ICE facility. My question to the federal government is, "Why do we need another facility to perform this function since they are already imprisoned somewhere, why not just add an Immigration Court to existing facilities? One that can handle the deportation hearing just as they are finishing their criminal sentence so the deportation can occur immediately after their 'release'." It seems like this common sense solution has not been run up the flag pole of cost savings that the Obama administration has vowed to bring into our government operations. Why could this be?
The Natchez Democrat has also done a spectacular job reporting on this incident and has several pictures of the facility that all depict the facility at night lit up like a Christmas tree. They quoted the local TV station WAPT that has an inmate as the source who sent photos from inside the prison to them while the riot was going on and released the following quote of the inmate,
They always beat us and hit us. We just pay them back. We're just trying to get better food, medical (care), programs, clothes, and we're trying to get some respect from the guards and lieutenants.The inmate also reported to WAPT that they had held 9 guards hostage tied up along with three injured. It seems as though the inmates are getting back at the guards for mistreatment while serving time inside this facility. The Adams County Sheriff's office is awaiting word from the FBI for how to proceed.
The cleanup team reported by the Natchez Democrat was extensive and includes several different counties and law enforcement agencies cooperating to contain the riot and a dozen or so ambulances and two medi-vac helicopters. Can you say COSTLY? Who is going to pay for all of this?
Agencies responding to the situation included the Adams County Sheriff's Office, Tallahatchie County Sheriff's special operations team, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office, CCA's trained Special Operations Response Team from Adams County and other CCA prison, Wildlife and Fisheries, the Mississippi Department of Transportation Mississippi Highway Patrol SWAT team and possibly others.A quick side note to compare to the Southwest Ranches site.
I can't even imagine having schools in any vicinity of a facility like this... Which they do not as noted earlier it is in the middle of no where. My question as it relates to this Medium to High level facility they want to build here would be "How would they handle a lock down at the schools with the approx. 23 Thousand students surrounding an ICE Detention Center?" I know we've all seen on the news how crazed parents get when students are in lock down. A feeling I never want to have as a parent. This is something that the "Secure Communities" initiative never brought into consideration when choosing to situate these new "for-profit" facilities so close to communities.
Could this be why the State of Florida doesn't allow schools near prisons? Maybe Broward County should have looked at this before they approved the increase to 1500 from the 700 bed count CCA had when they purchased the property even though they already had two schools less than 2 miles from this facility? Is this a typical lack of planning on Broward County's part? Is the County planning and zoning department this incompetent? We do know that CCA purchased their property in 1998 and both of these schools (Chapel Trail Elementary and Silver Trail Middle School) already existed...so why would they allow for an increase?
Enough with my sidebar, back to the riot...
WAPT reported that the 24 year old slain guard, Catlin Carithers who was called in to help with riot suppression ,was beaten to death on the roof of the building. From this one riot, we have this final count. One 24 year-old guard dead. Five Guards and one inmate have been hospitalized.
Total Count: 16 guards injured, 3 inmates injured, 1 guard dead. Are the savings to our federal budget with the Bureau of Prisons worth it?
Our prayers are with the families of the deceased and injured.
UPDATED NEWS!! News Coverage from local WAPT discussing the push by Congressman to have the FBI investigate this relatively new facility ran by CCA.
This compilation report was written by Ryann Greenberg.
Citations come from those stories linked and I do not take any ownership over their misreporting however I did attempt to weed out the inaccurate reports.