Prison cleanup from riot complete, investigation continues

Published 12:13 am Thursday, July 12, 2012

NATCHEZ — Officials at the Adams County Correctional Center say cleanup is complete but the facility remains on lockdown following the May 20 prison riot that claimed the life of a correctional officer and injured 16 other prison employees.

Of the employees who were injured during the riot, some of them — though ACCC spokeswoman Emilee Beach declined to say how many or who they were out of respect for their privacy — are still in recovery. The facility management maintains regular contact with those employees to support them in their recovery, Beach said.

Since the riot, 10 employees have left the employ of ACCC.

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“While we are unaware of any employee departures being attributed to the incident, as a general policy and out of respect for individual privacy, we do not publicly discuss specific reasons given,” Beach said.

Specially trained personnel from other facilities operated by Corrections Corporation of America — the company that owns ACCC — were brought in following the nine-hour inmate takeover of the prison, Beach said.

“While most of them are no longer on-site, we do continue to maintain a smaller presence of those personnel at Adams to support facility staff and operations,” Beach said.

FBI Spokeswoman Deborah Madden said the federal investigation into the riot is ongoing. Beach said FBI officials are no longer on-site at the prison, but that the prison management is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.

“Questions pertaining to the specific details of the investigation cannot be addressed at this time,” she said.

During the riot, an inmate called a news station and said the inmate violence was in retaliation for poor treatment. Later, Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said it was caused by gang violence that spread as a mass hysteria took over the prison.

The correctional officer who died during the incident, 24-year-old Catlin Carithers, sustained a fatal blunt trauma to the head while dropping gas canisters from the roof of one of the prison’s buildings.

In the days following the riot, food had to be transported to the facility from another CCA facility, but within two weeks the kitchen was repaired and food was once again being prepared in-house.

Inmates are currently allowed to send and receive written correspondence, and Beach said phone time is also available to them.

The ACCC houses federal immigration prisoners.