Guard sent to hospital after disturbance in Texas prison housing Idaho inmates
A prison guard was injured Friday night at the Eagle Pass Correctional Facility in Texas during a group disturbance involving 11 Idaho inmates.
About 6:30 p.m., two prison staff members saw an inmate trying to steal food from the prison’s kitchen, according to an email from Jeff Ray, spokesman for the Idaho Department of Correction. Staff members ordered the inmate to give up the food, but he refused, and instead threw his shirt and the food at them, according to Ray.
Staff members moved the inmate back to his housing unit and told him he would be moved to a “restrictive housing unit,” lose his job as a kitchen staff member and face discipline for assaulting the staff member and stealing food.
Other inmates in the housing unit soon became defiant themselves, according to Ray. They put towels over their heads, covered security cameras with toilet paper, and began to block the entrance to the housing unit with boxes and garbage cans filled with water.
A prison administrator repeatedly ordered the inmates to return to their cells, Ray wrote. Eleven of the 44 inmates in the unit refused to do so. Eventually, a prison tactical team took over and used pepper spray to subdue the inmates and move them to restrictive housing units.
One staff member received a shoulder injury in the scuffle, Ray wrote, and was taken to the hospital. No inmates were injured, according to the email, but an exercise bike was destroyed, and fire alarms were damaged.
Prison authorities will determine disciplinary action against the inmates, according to Ray.
The Eagle Pass Correctional Facility is in Eagle Pass, Texas, almost 150 miles southwest of San Antonio. It is a private prison, staffed by the The GEO Group, Inc., a Florida-based firm operating private prisons. The facility is leased to the Idaho Department of Correction, and as of Oct. 10, 549 Idaho prisoners lived in the facility.
All told, the department expected to have roughly 700 Idaho prisoners in Texas by Thursday.