OLNEY SPRINGS, Colo. – Several hundred prisoners rioted at a privately run prison in southern Colorado, setting fires and leaving more than dozen people injured before it was quelled early Wednesday, authorities said.
No guards were hurt, but an inmate with multiple stab wounds was airlifted to a Pueblo hospital, where his condition was unknown, said Alison Morgan, spokeswoman for the state corrections department.
Another inmate was shot in the foot by guards using rubberized bullets to quell the five-hour riot at the medium-security Crowley County Correctional Facility (search). Morgan said it started in the recreation yard late Tuesday and grew to include several hundred prisoners.
The Crowley County facility includes seven buildings on 22 acres some 50 miles east of Pueblo in the southeastern part of the state.
Four of the prison's five living units for inmates are uninhabitable because of broken windows, fire, smoke and water damage, and a vocational greenhouse burned to the ground, Morgan said.
In all, 13 inmates were taken to hospitals. Nine have been returned to the prison and four remained hospitalized, said Louise Chickering (search), a vice president with Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corp. of America (search), which owns the prison.
Some inmates were treated for chest pains or existing conditions such as asthma and diabetes, Morgan said.
The prison, which opened in 1998, is designed to hold 1,152 inmates and currently has 1,125 — 807 from Colorado, 120 from Wyoming and 198 from Washington.
More than 100 corrections officers, the corrections department's special operations team and emergency response teams from five state prisons were sent to the prison after the riot broke out. Officials were investigating whether the riot was gang-related, Morgan said.
She said investigators were interviewing inmates and planned to file charges against the riot leaders. Inmates displaced by the damage to the living units likely will be sent to other prisons around Colorado, including three operated by CCA.
CCA is the nation's largest private prison operator. Last month, it signed a contract with Colorado to house 128 maximum-security inmates at a prison it owns in Mississippi.