Authorities securing perimeter of federal prison
Fri, 20 Feb 2015 18:13:43 GMT —
Approximately 2,000 federal inmates were involved in a demonstration at a prison facility in Willacy County.
Multiple agencies, including federal and state authorities, were called to secure the perimeter of the Willacy County Correctional Center, a privately owned prison contracted through the federal government.
Inmates refused to participate in regular work duties or attend breakfast early Friday morning, according to Issa Arnita, the communications director for the operators of the facility.
The prison facility primarily holds immigration detainees, and some may be waiting to be deported, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
A corrections officers took breakfast to housing units as inmates began voicing their frustrations about medical services, the director said.
Some inmates broke out of the housing area and made their way into the recreational yard prompting a lockdown of the prison. Some inmates were seen shaking the fence.
Tear gas was used in an attempt to break up the disturbance, the prison spokesperson said in a news release.
Officers at the prison and local sheriff TMs deputies are working to get the inmates back into the facility.
Officials are not concerned about inmates escaping as two security fences surround the building.
Small fires broke out in three of the units, and the Raymondville Fire Department is on scene for precautionary measures.
The federal prison is located across from the Sheriff TMs Office on the 1800 block of Industrial Drive in Raymondville.
The Raymondville Police Department, county constables, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Sheriff TMs Department and U.S. Border Patrol are on scene.
A Willacy County Correctional Center worker said everyone inside the facility is safe.
Schools in the area have been on lockdown since 12:30 following reports of a riot at the prison, according to Raymondville ISD Superintendent Johnny Pineda.
Pineda said a soft lockdown of Raymondville ISD schools was ordered and remains in effect, but classes are continuing as schedule.
After school bus schedules are not being interrupted, but all after school activities have been canceled " including games.
The district has added security personnel on their campuses and increased patrols.
The prison facility has been on lockdown since Friday morning.
Two officers and an inmates received treatment on minor injuries, according to the prison's spokesperson.
Federal Bureau of Prisons records show the facility holds 2,881 inmates.
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