PECOS, Texas: Law enforcement officers and equipment on Tuesday moved in and out of a federal prison heavily damaged by inmate rioting over the weekend. The company that runs the Reeves County Detention Center says Saturday’s riot, the second in two months, left the facility unable to resume normal operations.
Perhaps the only thing harder to contain than a prison riot is the embarrassment that comes after a prison riot. But still. Boca Raton-based Geo Group has done a ham-handed job spinning the riot that broke out Saturday at a prison it owns in the West Texas town of Pecos. On Sunday it released a statement that the riot ended with a “positive outcome.”
Huh? What post-riot outcome could possibly be “positive”? Did everyone learn a valuable lesson?
And considering this is the second prison riot at a Geo Group-owned facility in Texas in less than two months, does the company know why these keep happening and have a plan for making them stop?
I got in touch with the Geo Group yesterday, and they refused to grant an interview. But they did send me a statement about the riot “group disturbance.”
At no time was there any threat to public safety by the inmate participants, as there were no attempts to breach the secure perimeter.
I should say not! There’s nothing in West Texas but flat land for miles and miles. Escape from Alcatraz is a picnic by comparison.
The statement claims that there were no “serious injuries” among the prison staff or inmates and that this riot in buildings I and II was unrelated to the riot that happened in December in building III but that property damage was significant enough to shut down those first two buildings, which are low-securiity facilities licensed to hold 2,200 criminal aliens. The statement described the inmates as “cooperative and compliant.” The unruly are now… ruly.
A guess: The inmates hoped to improve conditions by staging a riot, which just might embarrass the prison operators into providing better service. Maybe that’s what they mean by a “positive outcome.” Inmates: Why can’t you tell your jailers how you feel?
Riot heavily damages West Texas prison
12:00 AM CST on Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The Associated Press
PECOS, Texas ? Law enforcement officers and equipment on Tuesday moved in and out of a federal prison heavily damaged by inmate rioting over the weekend.
The company that runs the Reeves County Detention Center says Saturday’s riot, the second in two months, left the facility unable to resume normal operations.
A group of eight to 10 officers wearing what appeared to be SWAT gear entered the compound about 1:30 p.m. They emerged about 25 minutes later, then re-entered.
GEO Group Inc. said in a statement that inmates in two of the center’s three units remain under staff view. The company said inmates remain “cooperative and compliant” and no serious injuries were reported.
Sidia Molina of Houston, whose husband, Alberto Molina-Barrios, 47, is in the prison for being in the U.S. illegally, said the riot started because the inmates don’t think they are receiving adequate medical care.
Pablo Paez, a spokesman for GEO Group, said in an e-mail that medical services at the prison are provided by a physicians association “under a direct contract with the county.”
Attempts to reach county officials by telephone were unsuccessful Tuesday.
The two buildings affected house up to 2,200 criminal immigrants.
The Associated Press