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Arizona Forced to Relocate 700 Inmates After Rioting Leaves Parts of Prison 'Uninhabitable'

A private prison in Kingman, Arizona, remains on lockdown after two days of rioting that left separate housing units damaged and several guards injured.

by Tessa Stuart
Jul 4 2015, 7:05pm

Photo by Joshua Lott/Reuters

Two days of rioting has left portions of an Arizona prison "uninhabitable," forcing the state to shift 700 inmates to other facilities around the state. The privately-owned prison remains on lockdown "until further notice," the Arizona Department of Corrections said on Friday.

Two of the five housing units at the Arizona State Prison in Kingman were damaged by separate violent incidents on consecutive days. The prison, operated by Centerville, Utah-based company Management and Training Corp., houses about 3,500 inmates.

The first riot, characterized as a "major disturbance" by the Arizona Department of Corrections, took place on July 1 in a minimum-security section of the prison known as Hualapai Unit. Six corrections officers sustained injuries in the melee. DOC spokesman Andrew Wilder told the Associated Press it all began when the officers attempted to intervene as a group of inmates chased down and assaulted another prisoner.

Related: Evil Sponge Bob and Satan: Inside a Guantanamo Bay Prison Riot

The following night, a second riot broke out. Wilder did not disclose the number of inmates involved in the incident, but confirmed that the riot took prison guards hours to contain. An additional two officers were hurt in that second incident, which caused "severe property damage" to the medium-security Cerbat Unit. Officials said the second riot was unrelated to the first. All eight officers who were treated for riot-related injuries had been released from the hospital on Friday.

Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan ordered the inmates from the damaged Hualapai and Cerbat units be transferred to other prisons on Friday. It was the second time this year that riots at a Management and Training Corp.-owned facility forced officials to relocate inmates. In February, 2,800 inmates had to be moved from the Willacy County Correctional Center in Texas after fires broke out during riots in multiple units at the prison.

The Kingman prison, which opened in 2004, has seen many problems in its relatively short existence. In 2010, three prisoners escaped the facility and embarked on a crime spree that left an Oklahoma couple dead. Just last month, the family of a 23-year-old former inmate who died in January after an assault in the prison's Cerbat Unit filed suit seeking $7.5 million in damages for negligence from Management and Training Corp.

Follow Tessa Stuart on Twitter: @tessastuart

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