Thursday, October 22, 2009

CDCR Sends Strike Team in Response to Serious Staff Assault in Mississippi Facility

Sacramento — The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is sending a strike team made up of Office of Correctional Safety agents and gang investigators to the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in Tutwiler, Mississippi, after a staff assault sent two correctional officers to the hospital.

At approximately 5:30 a.m. EDT in the facility’s dining hall, several inmates attacked staff. The inmates, transferred to the facility from California, did not respond to lawful orders to stop their attack. Staff used pepper spray and chemical agents to gain compliance. There were 137 inmates in the dining hall at the time of the incident.

Two employees were taken to the hospital for treatment. One was treated for injuries to his eye and jaw and released. The other is still hospitalized and is being treated for 22 puncture wounds and a collapsed lung.

No inmates were injured. The facility is on lockdown.

The incident is under investigation. CDCR’s strike team will support Corrections Corporation of America staff in its investigation and review, help identify inmates who participated in the incident, conduct threat assessments and interviews, and evaluate housing placement.

To relieve prison overcrowding, California’s Legislature adopted AB 900, the Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Services Act of 2007. Among its provisions is approval to house up to 8,000 inmates in private correctional facilities outside California.

California's 7,837 out-of-state inmates are housed in Arizona, Mississippi, and Oklahoma in facilities operated by Correctional Corporation of America (CCA), based in Nashville, Tennessee. The Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility is a 2,592-bed multi-security prison owned and operated by CCA and houses 2,565 CDCR inmates.