Uprising at Bell County Detention Center, Kentucky

Uprising at Bell County Detention Center, Kentucky

Bell County Detention Center, Kentucky
May 1, 2019

At least five inmates flooded cells by clogging toilets and shower drains, set off fire alarms, and ripped a TV off the wall. The inmates then allegedly used pieces of the broken television as weapons to threaten officers that came into the cell.

The jailer, Gary Ferguson, told media that the uprising probably occurred because television privileges were restricted, but he also said that it was likely related to the fact that the inmates involved had recently been sentenced to long prison terms. “Whenever you restrict someone’s freedom, you don’t really know what goes through their mind,” Ferguson explained to the media.

In order to quell the disturbance, Kentucky State Police, Vehicle Enforcement, the Pineville Police and the Bell County Sheriff’s Office were called.

Five inmates were initially charged related to the incident, but officials stated that they are likely to bring additional charges after reviewing surveillance footage. The first five were all charged with with inciting a riot, criminal mischief, wanton endangerment in the first degree, menacing, and terroristic threatening in the third degree. It was the most serious disturbance at the jail in four years.


Bell County Detention Center inmates charged in “inmate disturbance”“, Mountain News WYMT, May 1, 2019.

Inmates cause ‘disturbance’ at Bell Detention Center“, Middlesboro Daily News, May 2, 2019.

Bell County inmates accused of starting jail riot“, WTVQ, May 3, 2019.