11 inmates indicted in Ariz. prison riot

Deputy Mohave County Attorney Rod Albright said only those inmates who could be positively identified were charged in the July 1 riot at the Cerbat Unit and additional charges will be filed in the July 2 and July 4 riots in the Hualapai Unit


Associated Press

KINGMAN, Ariz. — Eleven inmates have been indicted on charges stemming from the riots at a private prison in Kingman in early July, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Deputy Mohave County Attorney Rod Albright said only those inmates who could be positively identified were charged in the July 1 riot at the Cerbat Unit and additional charges will be filed in the July 2 and July 4 riots in the Hualapai Unit.

Fewer inmates in the Hualapai Unit will be charged because the cameras were broken more quickly than those in the Cerbat Unit, according to Albright. The names of inmates charged cannot be released until they're served with the indictments, he said.

The felony charges include participating in a riot, destruction of a public jail, criminal damage and aggravated assault on corrections officers, Albright said.

They will be transported for arraignments in Mohave County Superior Court on Oct. 19-20.

The cases were investigated and submitted by detectives with the Arizona Department of Corrections based in Winslow and Phoenix.

A report released in August said five senior state corrections officials assigned to monitor operations at the private prison -- which can house about 3,500 minimum and medium security inmates -- apparently were unaware of brewing discontent among inmates or massive guard overtime and understaffing before the riots broke out.

The unrest began July 1 in a minimum-security unit when private corrections officers tried to stop an inmate-on-inmate assault.

A full-blown riot broke out the next day in the prison's medium-security unit. It left some housing units so badly damaged that more than 1,100 prisoners had to be moved to other facilities.

Nine corrections officers suffered minor injuries, and four inmates were also hurt.

The July 4 riot reportedly was prompted by a confrontation between a private prison guard and an inmate where the guard allegedly used excessive and unjustified force.

Over the next 10 hours, inmates rampaged through several housing units and trashed the facilities. Efforts to use pepper spray and non-lethal crowd-control projectiles failed, and order wasn't restored until past dawn the next day.

Inmates reportedly rioted because they were upset with how they were being treated by guards and about conditions at the prison.

Following the riots, Gov. Doug Ducey announced the state was severing its long-term contract with the operator of the Kingman prison.

Estimates for repairing broken windows, electrical systems, plumbing and security equipment topped $1.9 million, and the prison isn't expected to be ready to reopen before December.

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