Contractor: Texas inmates who planned uprising wanted transfer, not upset about medical care

A private contractor that operates a Texas prison where inmates set fires and caused significant damage after taking over part of the facility says prisoners orchestrated the uprising to get transferred.

Utah-based Management & Training Corp. runs Willacy County Correctional Center. Spokesman Issa Arnita said in a statement Monday that a small group of inmates planned the Feb. 20 uprising because they feared for their safety if released.

That contradicts initial reports by MTC that the uprising was started after inmates complained about prison conditions, particularly medical care. Arnita said inadequate medical care was used as a pretext for the disturbance.

All 2,898 inmates who were at the prison have been relocated to other facilities around Texas. The inmates are primarily "low-level" offenders living in the U.S. illegally.