Memories of prison riot should never be forgotten

Published 12:11 am Friday, January 13, 2017

Nearly five years after our community was transfixed by the image of smoke rising from behind the razor wire at the Adams County Correctional Center, things look calm at the private prison facility.

On that day, May 20, 2012, prisoners took control over the prison and beat guard Catlin Carithers to death and injured 20 other people.

For hours, uncertainty and fear petrified members of the community.

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Practically every law enforcement person in the region was called to standby at the facility, many wound up standing around the perimeter of the facility with a plan to shoot any inmate who managed to penetrate the razor wire topped fence surrounding the facility.

Fortunately, rioting inmates were brought under control when special operations teams eventually stormed the facility.

Earlier this week Senior U.S. District Judge David Bramlette sentenced the final riot organizer, Juan Geraldo Arredondo.

His sentence seems paltry compared to what he and others ultimately did that day — take a man’s life and terrify an entire community.

But the sentence was the maximum allowed by law for the charge of rioting.

Approximately two-dozen inmates have been convicted of charges stemming from the riot. We applaud the work of the investigators to bring so many of the rioters to justice.

As the federal government mulls what to do with private, contract prisons including ACCC, we urge all of those involved not to allow the memories of that horrible day in May 2012 be forgotten.

We hope and pray that our community — or any other community — never has to experience that combination of terror and tragedy again.