Uprising at Cibola County Correctional Center, New Mexico

Cibola County Correctional Center, Milan, New Mexico
August 17, 2014

An uprising erupted at the the Cibola County Correctional Center, a privately run county jail that later had its contract pulled by the federal government in 2015–but is now operating as an immigration detention facility.

When guards attempted to subdue a fight inside a housing unit, the prisoners began attacking guards. After the prisoners involved in the attack were removed from the unit, other prisoners began attacking prison infrastructure. For approximately 45 minutes, prisoners attempted to destroy everything in the housing unit, causing $75,000 worth of damage. Prisoners smashed porcelain toilets and sinks, destroyed bunks, broke windows, ripped out plumbing fixtures, effectively flooding some of the cells, and destroyed security cameras, microwaves, and televisions. The uprising ended when correctional officers deployed tear gas through the air ducts.

This incident later led to the demotion/firing of the jail’s warden and chief security officer that same year.

Prison administrators later determined that the fight between prisoners was probably staged as way of initiating the uprising and that prisoners were communicating about the uprising by way of hand signals between pods.

In 2015, the private facility lost its marshal contract with the federal government, worth a $700,000 a year.

In 2016, this private facility, run by Core Civic, was converted to an immigration detention facility.


Riot-quelled-at-New-Mexico-facility/” Corrections One, August 18, 2014.

Cibola Co Prison Uprising Walkthrough“, KOAT 7, August 20, 2014. [Archive]

Cibola Co Prison Uprising Walkthrough,” KOAT, YouTube, August 20, 2014.

Jail uprising in Grants was planned, officials say“, KOAT 7, August 21, 2014. [Archive]

Video shows guards approaching inmates that incited Cibola Co. jail uprising,” KOAT 7, September 16, 2014. [Archive]


Two Cibola County Officials on Leave after Jail Riot,” The Santa Fe New Mexican, September 23, 2014.

Feds Will Shut Down Troubled Private Prison in Nation Investigation” The Nation, August 15, 2016.

Cibola County Supports Reopening Private Prison to Help Detain Immigrants” The Santa Fe New Mexican, October 27, 2016.

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