Inmates take over New Castle prison.
Live footage here as of 3:40 p.m. today.
Inmates at the New Castle Correctional Facility took over part of the prison and set several fires this afternoon.
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New Castle Mayor Tom Nipp said â€œa full-scale riotâ€ erupted at about 1:45 p.m.
â€œPrisoners were trying to tear down some fence,â€ he told WISH-TV (Channel 8). â€œI do know that the exterior fence is electrically wired, so I doubt they were trying to tear that down.
â€œThe police department has been fully mobilized. A perimeter has been established on the outside of the facility to assure that if anyone did manage to get over a fence there would still be security. And all due measures will be taken to maintain that security.â€
The privately operated prison is outside New Castleâ€™s city limits, but Nipp said the cityâ€™s entire police department had been mobilized, along with officers from nearby departments, paramedics and a fire crew.
Nipp said he did not know if the riot was related to the arrival last month of convicts from Arizona who are being housed at the prison.
The New Castle Correctional Facility which went private on January 1, 2006, has been touted by the Daniels administration as proof of its privatization model for correctional facilities. The Daniels Administration began contract negotiations to run the prison with GEO Group, Inc. in August 2005.
In March, the facility took in 1,200 inmates from Arizona which required the addition of 230 new employees. Last year, a similar deal to import inmates from California fell through. Of the California deal, Gov. Daniels said the $6 million value of the contract was “”pure profit,” as the state was to reap in cash but bear no expense in the deal.”
GEO, Inc., the private contractor was formerly known as Wackenhut, a company with a colorful history. With respect to private prisons, it has gotten in trouble in more than one state for its employees having sex with inmates. In Louisiana, the state had to take over a juvenile facility after the Department of Justice accused Wackenhut of subjecting its inmates to excessive abuse and neglect. It has been accused of diverting money for drug treatment programs and of having lax procedures for background checks. More recently, GEO, Inc. was accused of overcharging the state of Florida by $5 million. For a lot of additional accusations, the veracity of which I do not pretend to know, check out the GEO Group Rap Sheet.
Update Advance Indiana has some more recent details. The Governor regards this as a “relatively minor incident” and Arizona had already started putting brakes on the deal to ship its inmates over here because of “security concerns.”