FBI takes over investigation into Mississippi prison riot - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

FBI takes over investigation into Mississippi prison riot

(WMC-TV) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation is taking over the probe into a deadly riot in a privately run Mississippi prison.

One guard was killed and 20 injured in the May riot at the Adams County Correctional Facility.

A former prison guard may have some insight into what investigators will uncover.

Sheriff Chuck Mayfield says the decision to have the FBI take over the investigation was made after he met FBI and Correctional Corporations of America officials who own and operate the prison.

One day after the uprising on May 20, a reporter from our sister station in Jackson, Mississippi, interviewed a former CCA employee who asked to not be identified.

The former prison guard claimed the facility is understaffed, overcrowded, and plagued with problems getting the $2,500 federal inmates to cooperate.

"The prisoners refused to get back into their specified housing units and they negotiated for them to go back in. If I had to guess, that's probably what happened yesterday [May 20] and it just went south," said the prison guard.

Most prisoners are low security, illegal immigrants serving time for coming back to the United States after they had already been deported.

At one point during the riot, about 300 inmates held 20 guards hostage for nine hours before riot police moved in and ended it. But it was too late for 24-year-old correctional officer Catlin Carithers, who was killed.

but not soon enough for 24 year old correctional officer Catlin Carithers who was killed.

"They had anything they could find. Makeshift mop handles, broom handles, things that you would find just around for cleaning," said Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield.

Sheriff Mayfield released a statement saying that his department will continue to assist the FBI in the investigation as needed.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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