KINGMAN, Arizona (AP) — A third disturbance within four days broke out Saturday in a private prison in Kingman, authorities said.
Units with the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office were helping the Department of Corrections with the unrest at Arizona State Prison-Kingman, officials said. The law enforcement officers are providing security around the perimeter of the prison.
Inmates in the Hualapai dormitory were “again refusing to comply with directives this afternoon,” said Andrew Wilder, spokesman for the Department of Corrections.
By Saturday evening, however, “all inmates were complying with directives,” Wilder said. He said he did not have information on whether any inmates were injured.
Saturday’s disturbance was not a riot, said Wilder, who added that the cause of the disturbance remains under investigation.
Corrections officials on Saturday evening were screening the inmates and checking the facility to make sure order was restored, he said.
On Friday, about 700 inmates at the prison were moved to new locations after disturbances on consecutive days left their housing units uninhabitable.
Nine corrections officers suffered minor injuries in the incidents at the prison, which has had a long history of problems. No inmate injuries were reported.
The first disturbance occurred Wednesday at a minimum-security unit, followed by what he described as an unrelated riot Thursday night at a medium-security unit that took several hours to quell, Wilder said.
Saturday’s incident “was clearly a significant disturbance, but it was not on a scale with what occurred (at the prison) Thursday evening to Friday morning,” Wilder said.
In 2010, three inmates escaped from the prison after a woman in a getaway car threw cutting tools over the fence and they broke out. The inmates went on a violent crime spree that included the murders of an Oklahoma couple during a camping trip in New Mexico. They were killed, and their bodies were found burned in their trailer. The inmates were caught, tried and received new prison sentences.
The Management and Training Corp. continued to operate the prison despite scathing criticism of its lax security during the escape.
An inmate at the prison — and the minimum-security unit where the disturbance happened this week — was sexually assaulted and beaten at the facility in January and died at a hospital three days later, according to a legal claim filed by his family. The legal action says emergency responders weren’t notified for nearly two hours.
The inmate, Neil Early, was serving a five-year sentence for theft and possession of drug paraphernalia after becoming addicted to heroin and stealing video games.
Arizona houses thousands of inmates in private prisons, and the industry has come under fire for its large donations to Republican politicians.