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Disturbance ends with one inmate dead

JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — A wounded inmate, center, is tended to by medical personnel before being loaded in to an Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter after a riot occurred at the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility late Saturday morning. One inmate was killed and others received medical treatment off-site during the disturbance at the facility located just north of Woodville.

JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — A wounded inmate, center, is tended to by medical personnel before being loaded in to an Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter after a riot occurred at the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility late Saturday morning. One inmate was killed and others received medical treatment off-site during the disturbance at the facility located just north of Woodville.

WOODVILLE — An inmate died at the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility Saturday after fights broke out in what prison officials are calling a disturbance.

Nine other inmates were transported to hospitals off-site, some by helicopter — there were at least five landings — and still others were treated for injuries within the prison.

No prison employees were injured.

The incident began shortly after 10 a.m., the prison’s spokeswoman said in a written statement.

Woodville Police Chief Jessie Stewart said his department was called in for backup just before 11 a.m.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations, Mississippi Department of Corrections, the Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Office and the Woodville Fire Department were also on the scene.

The incident was resolved by 12:10 p.m., prison officials said; however, the facility remained on lockdown Saturday afternoon. All inmates were restricted to their housing units after the fights.

Prison staff responded to simultaneous fights first. Then, the facility’s trained emergency response team was activated, per routine procedure, according to the written statement.

Security officers could be seen on the roof of the facility at noon, and a man at the scene said the officers had earlier used “flash-bang” grenades.

“At no time was public safety at risk, as facility staff responded quickly to contain and resolve the incident,” the statement said.

By 4 p.m., one of the injured inmates transported off-site had returned to the prison.

The riot at the private prison owned by Corrections Corporation of America comes less than a year after another deadly riot at the CCA prison in Adams County. A prison guard died in the Adams County incident, which lasted for much of a day in May 2012, and a number of other employees were injured.

Several inmates have been charged in connection with the Adams County riot, and court proceedings are ongoing.

Wilkinson County Correctional Facility is a 1,000-bed facility that houses state inmates.

The Wilkinson County facility opened in 1998 and is located on U.S. 61, just north of Woodville.

Saturday’s fights are still under investigation.

 

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