Ben Hillyer/The Natchez Democrat — Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield discusses the events surrounding the Sunday prison uprising at the Adams County Correctional Center. With Mayfield was Adams County Coroner James Lee.

Sheriff: FBI gathering evidence on scene

Published 12:57pm Monday, May 21, 2012

6 p.m. update:

Authorities are currently working to determine whether criminal investigations into the riot at the Adams County Correctional Center will be handled on the local or federal level.

Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield talked with Corrections Corporation of America officials this evening regarding the investigation and said his office is on standby, waiting for word from the FBI about jurisdiction.

Authorities want to determine whether or not the FBI can prosecute the case on the federal level since the ACCC has a federal contract to house prisoners.

FBI agents are on scene at the prison today, collecting evidence from multiple scenes where guards were injured or held hostage, Mayfield said.

The prison is still on lockdown indefinitely.

Mayfield said he believes the prison has good video footage of what occurred during the riot. He’s hopeful it will show the assaults.

2 p.m. update:

Prison worker Catlin Carithers, who later died, was apparently assaulted on the roof of one of the prison’s buildings, Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said.

Mayfield also said no guns were fired at the prison Sunday, despite what spectators thought they heard. The pepper balls used in crowd control are fired from something similar to a paintball gun, and can sometimes sound like gunfire, he said.

“A lot of times these weapons can sound like guns, but there were no guns involved,” Mayfield said.

The prisoners were all escorted to the eastern recreation yard, where they were searched before being taken to the housing units.

Mayfield will meet with CCA later this afternoon.

11:30 a.m. update:

Inmates involved in a prison riot that left a correctional officer at the Adams County Correctional Center dead Sunday could face charges of capital murder, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and inciting to riot, Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said.

The officer, 24-year-old Catlin Carithers of Meadville, died of blunt force trauma to the head and possibly a fractured skull, Adams County Coroner James Lee said.

Lee said at this time it is unknown who may have struck Carithers. Mayfield said Carithers sustained the injury in the melee as he was trying to contain the riot.

Sixteen other employees of ACCC were treated and released from hospitals, and a news release from the prison stated that three inmates were taken to hospitals for treatment. One of those inmates was returned to the prison Monday morning.

The prison remains on lockdown.

Mayfield said inmate injuries included a concussion, broken ribs and a stab wound. All of those injuries were the result of assaults by other prisoners, Mayfield said.

“One prisoner either fell off or was thrown off the roof of one of the housing units,” Mayfield said.

“There was a lot of confusion inside with the inmates.”

At one point, more than two dozen prison employees were trapped inside during the siege from within, and were freed in stages as law enforcement response cleared the various buildings at the prison. The final five were freed at approximately 11 p.m., Mayfield said.

Special Response Teams from the state police and the FBI worked to take back control of the buildings, and local law enforcement officers formed a perimeter around the outside of the prison.

“Our (training for such a situation) is on a smaller scale, so the state SRT handled the interior,” Mayfield said.

“I promised the community that nobody would get out, and nobody did.”

Nearly 400 law enforcement officers from adjourning jurisdictions were on standby during the riot, and Mayfield said the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office had 200 law enforcement officers waiting to see if they were needed.

The last Adams County deputy was pulled from the scene at 9:30 a.m. Monday, and Mayfield said the ACSO is returning to business as usual today.

A person purporting to be a prisoner inside the prison called a news station and told reporters there that the riot was because of poor treatment and lack of medical care, but Mayfield said that claim was untrue.

“They said it was about medical and food services, but it was not,” Mayfield said. “Once (the riot) started, they had to say something.”

The news release from the prison states that Corrections Corporation of America — the parent company of ACCC — will work closely with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to investigate the incident.

Mayfield said that because the riot happened in Adams County the Adams County Sheriff’s Office will have some jurisdiction in the matter.

The sheriff said the riot started because of gang tensions within the prison.

“It started as a fight, either internally between one group or between two groups,” Mayfield said. “Once it started, it kind of quickly spread as a mass hysteria that everyone took part in.”

While the prison houses more than 2,000 prisoners, Mayfield said a core group of approximately 300 were behind the riot.

When the fighting erupted, the prisoners quickly equipped themselves with handmade weapons.

“The prisoners were using mop handles, broom handles, anything they could tear apart from the housing units, anything they could pick up,” Mayfield said. “They were using trash can lids for shields.”

  • Anonymous

    This is so sad… It’s praying time for real! I hope the rumors about exscaped prisoners are not true either… And I feel so bad for the family that lost their love one during this riot!!! Heaven help us ALL… Amen!

  • Anonymous

    thank god it didn’t go one for another day.  CCA’s stockholders would dump that stock in droves.  Insurance rate increases are going to cut into profits big time.

  • Anonymous

    Hopefully, they will fry the filth that did this, and send ‘em packing in a coffin back to whatever country they came from.

  • Anonymous

    No one cares about profits when a life has been lost!

  • vilou09

    *escaped

    I second that.. AMEN!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JNNRGCENRHHULVCNX4J7QMPXHQ DEBRA

    The Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office has 200 deputies?  Wow!

  • Anonymous

    Sure they care about profits, that’s why they’re in business.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CNEGJEREYHUI5BRK2QOT4GXCNI Big

    They are having pizza tonight from dominos pizza from what i was told!  50 pizzas were ordered for the prison. hardley enough for all but i am sure they are ordering all over to please them………hmmmmm

  • Anonymous

    I imagine the kitchen was torn up, and the help might not have shown up today. I would have second thoughts about it.

  • Anonymous

    as far as them feeding them pizza, well the federal government requires that the inmates are fed every so many hours and they cant go 14 hours between their night feeding and breakfast, and im sure like someone said the kitchen is probably in shambles. my thing is, those phones only alow certain phone calls and during riots 99% of the time inmate phones are shut off so leaves one to think maybe someone had a cell phone, but still… maybe people that arent in corrections will see that correctional officers put their life on the line every day to keep these peopleoff the street and they dont deserve to die in the hands of these people…. prayin for my fallen fellow correctional officer and his family

  • Anonymous

    Why do they allow them to have phones at all?  Ridiculous!

  • vilou09

    It’s already been said that the inmate caller was on his own cell phone. The reporter asked him to prove his identity as a prisoner and he took a picture from his cell and then emailed it to her.
    He said he has had that phone for some time now…

  • Anonymous

    Can some what tell me where Concordia Parish Sheriffs Office got 200 officers, that could send to Natchez???

  • Anonymous

    I’M JUST WONDERING WHY THE HEAD OF THE PRISON WASN’T INTERVIEWED. CHUCK WASN’T ANY WHERE TO BE SEEN WHEN IT ALL WENT DOWN. ACCUSING INMATES OF CATLIN DEATH IS BEYOUND THE SCOPE TO SAY THE LEASE. THE INVESTIGATION HASN’T BEEN FINAL. WITH ALL OF THE CONFUSION, HIS DEATH COULD HAVE BEEN CAUSE BY SOMEONE MISTAKE THAT WASN’T AN INMATE. IT HAPPEN’S ALL OF THE TIME IN WARS AND CONDITIONS LIKE THIS. I KNOW CATLIN FAMILY AND FRIENDS WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT REALLY HAPPEN. IT’S EASY TO SAY A INMATE DID IT. 

  • Anonymous

    Wow ! Sheriff Mayfield looks pissed and I can hardly blame him . When the smoke clears they’ll find that the real cause of the riots was simply that those criminals got wind that they are being deported back to Mexico . Another thing , if such a riot broke out at LSP at St.Francisville and a guard was killed you better believe several of the rioters would have lost their lives also . Guards use real guns down there !! Maybe they’ll realize that many of those illegals being held at those federal detention centers are career , hardened criminals in their native country of mexico . It should be upgrade from medium security to maximum . Many of those illegals have hidden criminal pasts not picked up in this country .
     I agree with a previous poster . Send them back in coffins .

  • Anonymous

    OTISS BROWN; LET ME SEE CAN I SHEAD SOME LIGHT ON YOUR QUESTION. THAT’S ONE LIE, LIKE MANY MORE ARE FLOATING AROUND. SOME PEOPLE WILL SAY ANYTHING TO MAKE THEMSELVES LOOK LIKE A HERO. C.P.S.O. DO YOU’LL HAVE 200 SERVE-AND-PROTECT ? THAT SOUNDS LIKE HALF OF THE POPULATION OVER THERE. THE ONLY WANT-A-BE HERO I’VE HEARD FROM IS CHUCK. I’VE BEEN AROUND MANY LEADERS IN MY LIFE IN FAR WORSE CONDITIONS, THEY NEVER CONDUCTED THEMSELVES LIKE THAT.   

  • Anonymous

    JUST TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT THAT CLOSE-UP SHOT. THERE’S SOMETHING GOING ON THAT’S NO DIFFERENT THAN A GANG MEMBER. ” I AM THE BOSS” AND WHAT I SAYS GO. ” THERE’S NO SHERIFF BETTER THAN I ” EXCEPT THE ONE IN ARIZONA. HIS DAYS IS HEADED TO A SAD ENDING. THIS GOES BACK TO THE TIMES OF BRANDISH THAT SHOT GUN WITH THAT COWBOY HAT AND POINTED TOE BOOTS. WANTING PEOPLE TO FEAR YOU. I KNOW AT THAT PRISON YOU WERE SWEATING BULLIES, TRIGER FINGER SHAKING, ADRENALINE RUSHING LIKE THE SEVEN SEAS. AFRAID. IN A SITUATION WHERE YOU MIGHT HAVE TO SHOOT AN INMATE. IT WILL BE A WHILE BEFORE YOU GET A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP.    

  • Anonymous

    They are not allowed – the screen had some brown stuff on it in the picture!

  • Anonymous

    Really wish there was an “unlike” button on here.

  • Anonymous

    That was meant for davedunce’s comments, not Sheriff Mayfield, btw.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CNEGJEREYHUI5BRK2QOT4GXCNI Big

    GROSS!!!!!!!   Now that is nasty!