2,800 Inmates to be Transferred After Riot at Texas Federal Prison

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A federal prison in South Texas over the next week will transfer up to 2,800 inmates to other institutions in the area, after a riot on Friday rendered the facility uninhabitable, an official said.

Inmates at the Willacy County Correctional Center, who took control of the prison using pipes as weapons, were compliant on Saturday evening as negotiations with the authorities continued.

Ed Ross, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, said in a phone call that about 2,800 low-security offenders and illegal immigrants will be transferred to other facilities.

“Staff are continuing to communicate with the inmate population in an effort to regain complete control of the facility, which is now uninhabitable due to damage caused by the inmate population,” the bureau said in a statement.

The Valley Morning Star newspaper reported fires were set inside three of the prison’s 10 housing units. It was not immediately clear what caused the riot.

Administrators on Saturday met with inmates, who broke out of their housing units and entered the recreation yard, Issa Arnita, a spokesman for Management and Training Corporation, the operator of the prison, said in a statement.

Inmates did not breach the two surrounding security fences, he said.

“Correctional officers used nonlethal force, tear gas, to attempt to control the unruly offenders,” Mr. Arnita said in the statement.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Kenneth Rosen

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