Sheriff: No inmate was going to escapePublished 12:34am Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Guards and response teams inside the prison were not carrying guns, but instead had a multitude of defense mechanisms to control the crowd. Prison employees don’t carry guns so there is no risk of inmates taking them.
Mayfield said he saw inmates hold multiple employees hostage by forcing them to sit on the ground and surrounding them.
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.
Special Response Teams from the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the FBI worked to take back control of the buildings, and local law enforcement officers formed the 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.
ACSO deputies assisted in the removal approximately 15 prison employees at once by opening an outer fence and training guns on any inmates who dared cause a problem.
“If they came out and started heading to the employees, there would have been a warning, and I would have given the order to open up (gunfire),” Mayfield said.
Between 25 and 30 ACSO deputies were on the scene for the entirety of the riot — from 2:40 to 11:30 p.m. — along with a large number of state and out-of-town officers.
Nearly 400 law enforcement officers from adjoining jurisdictions were on standby during the riot, and Mayfield said the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office had rallied 200 law enforcement officers if needed.
The final five ACCC employees were freed at approximately 11 p.m., Mayfield said.
Multiple ACSO deputies stayed on the scene until 2:30 a.m., and the last Adams County deputy was pulled from the scene at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
At 2:45 a.m. all prisoners were in their housing units and the entire prison went on lockdown status, according to a press release issued by the facility’s parent company, Corrections Corporation of America.
The lockdown will continue indefinitely.
CCA announced late Monday that crisis management experts and grief counselors were working with employees at the facility.
“Unfortunately, no system is immune to disturbances,” CCA said in a press release. “Though this is only the second time in our company’s nearly 30-year history that one of our own has lost his life to inmate assault, it doesn’t make it any less tragic or difficult. This is a sad reminder of the challenges that come with providing this vital public service.”
CCA provided two written statements throughout the day Monday, but neither the local Warden Vance Laughlin or public information officials at the local prison or corporate office answered calls or responded to direct e-mailed questions.
The prison did say it would support full prosecution of inmates involved in the crimes and cooperate with investigators.
Inmates involved in the riot could face charges of capital murder, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and inciting to riot, Mayfield said.
Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigations were on the scene Sunday night and again Monday to collect evidence, Mayfield said.
Prosecution of the offenders could be handled on either the federal or local level.