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CEC Kinney Detention Center on Lock Down After Riot

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Thanks to Matt Tedrow over at New Texas Radical for the heads up on this story about a major disturbance at CEC/CiviGenics' Kinney County Detention Center. Matt sums up the story well,

The Kinney County Detention Center in Bracketville remained in full lockdown yesterday after a Friday night riot, reports the Del Rio News Herald. According to a press release from the Kinney County Sheriff's Office, 30 prisoners refused to return to their cells from an indoor recreation area, and instead set fire to mattresses and clothing.

Note that this isn't the first prison riot in Texas this month. On Dec. 12, prisoners at the Reeves County Detention Center rioted, taking two hostages and setting fire to the building. (Texas Prison Bid'ness has more on the Reeves story here.) The media didn't offer any explanations as to why prisoners rioted in Bracketville, but I'm guessing the rioters at both facilities shared similar concerns. In addition, both are private prisons (GEO Group runs Reeves, and CEC runs Kinney County, according to their website). Is it possible that a for-profit prison cares more about its bottom line than it cares about providing humane living conditions?

It's unclear from the story if the prisoners were local detainees or held on a contract from a federal agency. According to the Del Rio News Herald ("Kinney County Detention Center riot," December 28), a substantial amount of local and state resources were used in attempting to quell the disturbance.

Still, area law enforcement, emergency medical services and firefighters remained at the facility, located on Highway 131 toward Spofford, until well after midnight Saturday morning.

The Val Verde County Rural Volunteer Fire Department was called to the detention center around 10:20 p.m. at the request of the Kinney County Sheriff’s Office. At the time, emergency responders at the scene worried the indoor fires might breach the roof and called on Val Verde County to bring additional engines, equipment and manpower.

Val Verde County fire chief Jerry Rust said he responded with five trucks and about a dozen firefighters. Unsure of the amount of water supply in the area surrounding the Kinney County Detention Center, Rust also ordered the mobilization of the fire department’s 5,000-gallon tanker truck.

While armed Texas Department of Public Safety troopers stood guard at set intervals around the perimeter of the complex, medics tended to the detention center guards who occasionally were overcome by the pepper spray used to subdue the inmates.

We'll keep you posted as we hear more.

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