Approximately 2,000 inmates at Willacy County Correctional Center seized control of a portion of the prison after refusing to work. The inmate uprising began as a protest to the current state of their medical services. The inmates brandished pipes while taking control of three of the 10 housing facilities. The inmates then set fire to the units. As of Saturday night, police have still not regained control of the entire prison facility.
My San Antonio reports that about 2,000 federal inmates became “disruptive” during breakfast. The prisoners refused to leave their housing units and attend breakfast. The disruption caused the housing units to be placed on lock down. However, inmates began breaking out of the units and took control of three of the 10 housing tents.
The inmates behavior was in protest of the current state of Willacy County Correctional Center’s medical services. Inmates say they are unhappy with the services provided, and that their medical concerns were routinely ignored by staff. Inmates say it often took weeks to see a health care provider and were many times denied emergency care. The group says that “corners are often cut” when it comes to their health care services.
The Associated Press notes that Brian McGiverin, a prisoners’ rights attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, is not surprised by the uprising in the prison over medical care. He claims that medical services in prisons are grossly underfunded and are “pretty abysmal.”
“It’s pretty abysmal with regard to modern standards how people should be treated, pretty much anywhere you go.”
According to the Daily Mail, the prison inmates were able to gain control of portions of the prison by using pipes as weapons. They also set multiple small fires that damaged some of the housing units. The prison says that roughly 2,800 inmates will be moved to other facilities due to the damage. As far as injuries, the police are using non-lethal force in an attempts to quell the protests. However, two officers and three to five inmates received minor injuries during the violent protest.
As of yesterday night, police still did not have full control of the prison facility. Ed Ross, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, says that inmates are “compliant” but notes that negotiations with the prisoners are ongoing in an attempt to “regain full control” of the facility.
“The situation is not resolved, though we’re moving toward a peaceful resolution.”
My San Antonio notes that the majority of the inmates in Willacy County Correctional were charged with “either with illegally re-entering the country or with nonviolent drug crimes.”
The Inquisitr previously reported on a prison break in Brazil that happened after a group of scantily clad women entered the prison and seduced the wardens.
What do you think of the inmates ability to take control of the prison? Should the U.S. Bureau of Prisons negotiate with the inmates after the violent protest? What should be done about medical care within the prison system?