Inmate pleads guilty, second charged, in Mississippi prison riot

By HOLBROOK MOHR Associated Press
Posted September 7, 2012
In: The Commercial Appeal, TN

JACKSON — One inmate has pleaded guilty to participating in a deadly prison riot in Mississippi, while a second prisoner has been charged in the case.

One guard was killed and 20 people were injured in the May 20 riot at the privately-run Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez, which holds illegal immigrants convicted of crimes in the U.S.

Yoany Oriel Serrano-Bejarano was charged Tuesday. A complaint filed by an FBI agent says he assaulted a guard and helped other inmates climb onto the roof of a building where correction officer Catlin Carithers was beaten to death.

The affidavit says prisoners took food service carts out of the dining hall and kitchen and stacked them on top of each other to climb onto the roof where Carithers was assaulted.

“Serrano-Bejarano has been identified as one of the inmates who held the food carts so the inmates could access the roof,” the complaint says.

The court documents also say Serrano-Bejarano assaulted a different guard, was seen with a prison guard’s radio, and destroyed cameras and windows.

Serrano-Bejarano is at least the second inmate charged in the case. Court records did not list an attorney for him.

Juan Lopez-Fuentes pleaded guilty to participating in the riot during a hearing Aug. 27 in U.S. District Court in Natchez. He faces up to 10 years in prison at sentencing on Nov. 19. Lopez-Fuentes was charged with leading a group of inmates who took hostages in one section of the prison. He forced one of the hostages to relay orders for tactical teams to drop their weapons and back off, according to court records in his case.

Lopez-Fuentes was serving time for two previous felonies at the time and was facing deportation.

The FBI affidavit doesn’t say why Serrano-Bejarano was being held in the prison, though it says he was released Aug. 28 and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement for deportation. The criminal charge will allow authorities to hold him pending the outcome of the case.

Court records say the prisoners were angry about their treatment the day the riot erupted.

The prison holds nearly 2,500 illegal immigrants, most of them convicted on charges of coming back to the U.S. after being deported. The prison is owned by Nashville-based Corrections Corp. of America, one of the nation’s largest private prison companies.

The FBI says in court records that the riot was started by a group of Mexican inmates, known as Paisas, who were angry about what they considered poor food and medical care and disrespectful guards. Paisas are a loosely affiliated group within the prison, without ties to organized gangs, FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden has said.

It took hours for authorities to control the riot, which grew to involve hundreds of inmates and caused an estimated $1.3 million in damage.

Read the rest here

It would be good to know from other sources what happened.

Deaths in Iranian prison must be investigated

From: Amnesty International

17 March 2011

Amnesty International has called for an investigation into reports that up to 14 people were killed in a disturbance in a jail near Tehran this week.

The incident at the overcrowded Qezel Hesar prison in Karaj occurred on Tuesday night when clashes broke out involving prisoners and prison guards. The Prisons Chief said that a judicial investigation has been launched.

“Such a high death toll is extremely worrying. Prison officials have a responsibility to maintain order and to protect the lives of prisoners, but must exercise restraint,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“A prompt inquiry into these deaths is essential but it must be independent and transparent, as international human rights standards require, such as those set out in the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the Body of Principles for the protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.

“Unfortunately the Iranian Judiciary has routinely failed to carry out such investigations, so we are once again calling on the international community to use the current session of the UN Human Rights Council to create a Special Rapporteur to monitor and report on human rights in the Iran.”

Prison authorities said the riot was sparked by death row prisoners and drug-trafficking and possession offenders committing arson and other destructive acts in an attempt to escape, as well as attacking prison guards.

However, human rights activist groups told Amnesty International the prisoners were protesting at poor conditions and attempts to transfer some of the inmates for execution.

One activist based abroad said he had been in contact with a prisoner from inside Section 2 of prison until the early hours of Wednesday, when the phone lines were cut.

“The prisoners took over Sections 2 and 3 of the prison,” the activist told Amnesty International.

“I was told that armed guards had stationed themselves on the roof of the prison and outside the doors to the section and the prisoners set fire to bedding to try to stop the guards from entering. The prisoner told me that the guards were shooting at everyone.”

There are reports that at least six people died from gunshot wounds and over 100 may have been injured, with some dying in – or on the way to – medical centres.

Iranian State Television reportedly said on Wednesday that 14 people had died, including at least nine prisoners, and 33 had been injured. Prison guards may have also been among the fatalities.

“We know that the Iranian authorities are on a killing spree at the moment, having executed well over 100 people – mainly alleged drugs offenders – since the start of the year. This is yet one more reason why they should immediately order a moratorium on all executions,” added Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.

Eloy Red Rock Riot update: Christmas Eve

The latest word from Red Rock (in a news release via K-Gun in Tucson) is that 43 prisoners have been identified as being involved in the riot today and are in administrative segregation under investigation (isolated in detention units). According to them, seven prisoners were treated for injuries at a hospital, only one of whom was admitted (his injuries are reportedly non-life-threatening).

It still appears as if only California’s prisoners were involved.

(photo credit: TriValley Central)

Prison Talk has a thread going (that’s the link to the most current page, as of this evening) where family and friends of prisoners there are sharing info about which yard was involved, what’s happening with visitation, etc. I can’t figure out much more from that yet, but they usually know what’s going on before the media does – and will keep talking about it long after the media loses interest.

The families will be more current than I am, as well, so follow them if you’re really concerned about what’s going on and how other prisoners there are being affected. While rumors may sometimes fly in forums like Prison Talk, CCA’s news releases aren’t necessarily the whole truth. They don’t even have anything about the Red Rock Riot or the lawsuit at Saguaro up on their newsroom website, so don’t turn to CCA for “news” on their prisons.

My friend, Frank Smith from the Private Corrections Working Group (a private prison industry watchdog), dropped me a line today that he left the following remark about the Red Rock Riot on the TriValley Central website. Frank’s insight is often worth repeating:

———————————-

“These prisons are chronically troubled.

Thanks to campaign support and contributions to Republicans there is virtually no oversight. Arizona officials have no clue as to whom they hold; what murderers, pedophiles, rapists, kidnappers have been imported from hundreds or thousands of miles away. The female staff is endlessly sexually harassed by management. Escapes and riots are as regular as rain in the tropics.

When charges are successfully brought against murderers from out of state, it is Arizona taxpayers who will pay to keep them for most or the rest of their lives.

This “minor” incident, as the for-profit prisons are careful to term them, overtaxed Pinal County emergency services. Who will be paying for the costs of the medivac choppers to Maricopa County? Who will be called to address a “major” incident?

In Colorado, there was a 1999 riot in a badly constructed prison built by the same outfit to which Mohave County sole-sourced the Kingman prison, thanks to promoters who are now hovering over Arizona communities like a flock of vultures. It took law enforcement from four states to put down that riot. In 2004 a CCA riot in the same prison cost the state about three quarters of a million to put down, but it only got $300,000 or so in reimbursement.

These ineptly run lockups have long since exhausted the potential labor pool in Pinal county and low-wage labor required to run them will come from Maricopa or Pima counties.

Despite the staggering incompetence of the for-profits, Coolidge officials have welcomed still another such mistake, this one to be run by MTC, the outfit that gave us riots in Pima and Mohave county this year, and the escapes of three murderers who killed a vacationing Oklahoma couple. MTC has had escapes, riots and murders in other states as well, including California, Texas, New Mexico and their home state of Utah. MTC was thrown out of Canada, where cooler legislative heads prevail and politics are not dominated by special interests.”

High Desert State Prison: live rounds fired to stop uprising

We are getting short notes from High Desert State Prison, Indian Springs, NV, that there have been riots and/or attempts of uprisings over the last few weeks. On 13th of October 2010, according to a letter received by NPW from someone inside HDSP:

“They fired 7 live rounds to stop another uprising in units 5 C/D Level3. They have now turned (unit) 5 A/B and 5 C/D into level 4 status, and the conditions are as such or worse than the “hole”: showers every 3 days, no yard, no tier time, no phone.

The food and living conditions are beyond belief.

The Administration should realize that you have to give men education, work, or some form of activity in order to help them learn to be productive. But the wardens and staff here don´t care about that. We are nothing more than a stocks quote or head count. Humans have become a commodity now, we´re treated just like live stock.”

From a letter dated 10-18-2010 from a prisoner in High Desert State Prison, Indian Springs, Nevada.

20 inmates shot dead during Mexico prison battle

MEXICO CITY – Twenty inmates were shot to death Monday when a group of prisoners attacked another gang inside a prison in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, authorities said. Two policemen guarding the prison were wounded.
The lock-up in the Pacific coast city of Mazatlan was quickly brought under control and investigators found two pistols and an assault rifle inside, said Martin Gastelum, a spokesman for the Sinaloa state prosecutors’ office.

Gastelum said all the dead inmates were killed by other prisoners. He did not say whether police fired any shots while restoring order.
Sinaloa state Public Safety Secretary Josefina Garcia told Radio Formula that one of the two police officers wounded was in serious condition.
Garcia said 17 of the dead were among the inmates attacked and three were with the attackers.

Local media said those attacked were apparently members of the Zetas drug gang, which is battling the powerful Sinaloa cartel, but officials were unable to confirm that.

Many of Mexico’s most powerful drug traffickers hail from Sinaloa, a key smuggling corridor and cultivation area for marijuana and opiates. The northwestern state, and Mazatlan in particular, are rife with turf battles among drug gangs.
Mexico’s drug gangs frequently try to break their members out of prison, by staging attacks from the outside or buying off prison officials. But there was no immediate confirmation Monday’s shootings involved a prison-break attempt.

Riot at Ely State Prison: It was a battle!

Source: SF Bay View

There was a riot here at Ely State Prison that took place in the most restricted unit, 4B and 4A. It lasted from Jan. 31 to Feb. 1. It was a battle!

There has been a lot of changes here at ESP that all started on Nov. 23, 2009. Rather than giving us anything to look forward to or any real incentive by implementing any constructive or productive programs, the administration has maliciously taken things away. Canteen privileges, appliances (radios, TVs, CD players and the like) and visits have all been stripped away from us so they can hold these things over our head and use them as a control method.

On Nov. 23, 2009, all of the prisoners who are serving “Disciplinary Segregation” were moved and placed in Unit 4, A Wing and B Wing, and Unit 3B. They intentionally made 4B the worst tier in this prison by strategically placing protective custody inmates and mentally ill inmates all around us on this tier, while taking appliances away, so that we have no choice but to be subjected to the everyday torture, sensory deprivation and psychological warfare deliberately placed on us by these PCs and mentally ill inmates, who constantly scream, bang, verbally assault other prisoners, snitch and inform on us and several other tactics they do to make us miserable that I cannot explain.

Not to mention the guards on this unit are the most strict, the most petty, spiteful, vindictive and retaliatory guards in this prison. These guards have intentionally gone out of their way to provoke us on several different occasions. They have taken appliances, including mine, away from inmates who committed rule violations prior to Nov. 23, 2009 – which is against policy – and prisoners who have been found guilty of minor and general write-ups have had their appliances confiscated, and even prisoners who were found not guilty of minor write-ups had their appliances taken away!

To top that off, prisoners who have gone two months without their appliances still have not had their appliances returned to them in spite of what the policy states, and the staff are not answering kites (written messages) or making any efforts to try to get the appliances returned to these prisoners.

Year after year it is take, take, take, and it has gotten to the point where we got fed up with this. We have said enough is enough. We needed to get things off of our chest!

Prisoners on 4B, including myself, kicked off a riot by flooding, burning, capturing food slots, popping sprinkler heads, forcing the guards to gear up and extract us from our cells so that we could fight with them! At least eight guards dressed in full riot gear and helmets would line up and run in our cells, trying to beat us into submission.

We fought hard and we took it to them. Many of us were successful at disarming them of their electrical shield, making sure to get our hits in before they wrapped us up and beat us down. One prisoner even got out of his cell and hit a guard so hard in the helmet that the face guard broke off!

When it was all said and done, there were over 16 cell extractions on both wings, totally three prisoners were sent to the infirmary, one of those prisoners was sent to the hospital outside of the prison because of head trauma, but the other two were returned back to their unit two days later. There was so much blood everywhere – in the cells, on the tier, in the sally port, in the hallway and on the walls – it was crazy! It was a battle!

Every guard that was on the extraction team received some type of injury. Each one had to see the nurse about something. One guard, allegedly, got stabbed during a cell extraction. He was laid out in the sally port being operated on by the nurses for about 45 minutes before he was carried out on a stretcher. After that, the guards’ spirits were deflated and they refused to run in on anybody’s cell. They showed their fear and defeat by their use of chemical agents from here on out.

We battled hard! Whites and several Latino prisoners from different factions all came together, successfully building an army in 20 minutes to fight together and take a stand! Guys that normally would not even talk to each other came together to take it to these swine.

Every one of us who got extracted received a black eye, bloody nose and many lumps and bruises, but we are proud of these battle wounds! At least I’m proud of mine! There were many foul and unprofessional acts done by the guards that directly violate the policies of the institution, and an investigation is being pursued. We are taking this as a victory.

The guards bowed down before we were ready to stop fighting. They extracted me from my cell. I quickly disarmed them of their electrical shield and got a few licks in before they wrapped me up. When they brought me back to my cell, Latinos, Whites and Blacks were all chanting my name and cheering me on. It felt good.

This is not my first riot but it was definitely the best. It’s so good to see solidarity in action, to see prisoners of different races and factions coming together like this. We need more solidarity before we can really start making positive changes in this system!

Resistance and sacrifice,

Coyote
ABC-Nevada Prison Chapter, Ely State Prison