Warden: Riot was planned, not a gang fight

Published 1:42 pm Thursday, July 12, 2012

NATCHEZ — Adams County Correctional Center Warden Vance Laughlin said Thursday that the May 20 riot that resulted in the death of a correctional officer and multiple employee and inmate injuries was an inmate-planned event and not — as local law enforcement officials suggested at the time — a gang fight that spiraled out of control.

The warden said investigators are working “several good leads” into who might have been responsible for the death of 24-year-old correctional officer Catlin Carithers, who died after receiving blunt trauma to the head during the incident.

Sixteen employees were injured during the riot, including four who received non-life threatening but “long-term” injuries, Laughlin said.

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While the matter is still under investigation, Laughlin said it is likely the riot’s planners will be held legally accountable for some of the things that transpired that day. Laughlin also said he believed the riot, “grew well beyond what they had planned.”

The incident started because inmates were “trying to get concessions as a result of misbehavior,” Laughlin said.

The damage the prison sustained during the riot was not substantial, but fences, fire extinguisher boxes, fire extinguishers and other such items were damaged.

Some inmates have been transferred out of the facility, and the population is currently 2,400. Approximately 2,550 innates were housed at ACCC at the time of the riot, and Laughlin said between 500 and 700 inmates participated in the incident.