Adams County Correctional Facility, Adams County, Mississippi
May 21, 2012

Hundreds of prisoners took control of a unit at a private prison owned by Corrections Corporation of America (now Core Civic) and attempted to negotiate a meeting with the warden to voice their concerns. After guards deploy tear gas canisters, prisoners threw the canisters back towards the firing line along with stones, soda cans, and kitchen trays. Some prisoners stacked food trays and reached the roof where the guards were stationed, assaulting prison staff and again demanding a meeting with the warden. Prisoners started a large fire in the prison yard. One guard dies from blunt trauma and 20 others are injured.

The uprising occurs following complaints by prisoners of medical neglect resulting in fatalities, excessive use of segregation, spoiled food, lack of interpreters, and mistreatment from staff. The prison is run by Core Civic under contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

On a phone call to a local ABC station, a prisoner reported rampant physical abuse and a demand for better food, medical attention, and respect from guards.

Approximately a third of the detainees at the facility at the time were serving time for immigration offenses, such as unlawful re-entry, about 99 percent of which would result in deportation.

The Intercept collected statements from detainees at the facility. One detainee wrote,

“The inmates tried, though no one paid attention, to discuss the poor nutrition, with food that had already expired and medical care that was scarce and so bad prisoners were getting worse and worse…Whenever anyone complained, officers beat him and put him into segregation, the SHU, and submitted a report it had happened because of disobedience or lack of respect for an officer.”

Another detainee reported officers using racial slurs like “wetback” toward them.


Smoke from a fire set by prisoners during the uprising is visible outside the Adams County Correctional Center (Photo Source: CBS News).



Guard killed, several others injured in riot at Mississippi prison, officials say”, CNN, May 20 2012.

“Fatal Corrections: Inside the Deadly Mississippi Riot That Pushed the Justice Department to Rein In Private Prisons”, The Intercept, December 17 2016.

Adams County Prison Riot“, WAPT ABC, May 20, 2012.