Willacy County Correctional Center, Raymondville, Texas
February 20, 2015
Nearly 2,000 inmates participated in an uprising at a private prison run by Management and Training Corporation. The facility, which lies approximately 40 miles from the US-Mexico border was used primarily to house immigrants due for deportation.
The uprising began when prisoners refused to leave their cells for breakfast or report to work. The inmates then escaped from the buildings they were housed in and converged on the yard where they set several fires and climbed the gates of the prison. Local law enforcement responded with around 40 vehicles, including armored vehicles, and a helicopter. They sported live ammunition and fired tear gas into the yard. Despite this, they were unable to regain control of the facility and the FBI was called in the following morning to quell the uprising. The standoff lasted 36 hours. Three to six inmates and one guard suffered minor injuries from unknown causes.
Inmates later stated they were protesting poor living conditions and a lack of medical services at the facility. After the uprising, 2,800 immigrant prisoners were transferred to other facilities and the Federal Bureau of Prisons declined to renew it’s private prison contract, closing the facility. Nearly all of it’s 400 employees were terminated. In 2018 the facility came under the control of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and was reopened as an immigrant detention facility housing 1,000 inmates.
“Standoff nearing end at south Texas prison: report” Reuters, February 21, 2015.
“Talks continue as FBI, Federal Bureau of Prisons relocate about 2,800 inmates from South Texas facility” San Antonio Express News, February 21, 2015.
“Thousands of immigrant prisoners moved to undisclosed locations after protesting conditions” Prison Protest, February 25, 2015.
“The true story of a Texas prison riot” The Nation. June 23, 2015.