2 staff members hurt in Indiana prison riot involving Arizona inmates
New Castle, Ind. - Two staff members were injured in what was described by the city's mayor as a ''full-scale riot'' among prisoners Tuesday at the New Castle Correctional Facility, where inmates transferred from the state correctional facility in Yuma are held.
Pictures taken from television helicopters showed at least two fires burning in the courtyard, causing thick black smoke for a time. New Castle Mayor Tom Nipp said the entire city police force had been activated in response to the riot at the medium-security prison.
Indiana Department of Correction spokeswoman Java Ahmed said more than one cell house was involved in the disturbance. She did not release the extent of the staffers' injuries.
In March, Arizona and Indiana contracted to house up to 1,260 Arizona inmates at the prison about 45 miles east of Indianapolis. Bill Lamoreaux, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Corrections, said New Castle is currently housing 630 Arizona inmates, who began arriving in the last two months. Out of those inmates, 105 were transferred from Arizona State Prison Complex-Yuma.
Arizona Department of Corrections officials know that prisoners originally from Arizona were involved in the riot, but they are unsure of how many or their exact roles. Indiana inmates were also involved, according to Ahmed.
The prison, which opened in April 2002, has a capacity for more than 2,400.
Arizona Department of Corrections spokeswoman Katie Decker said at least some of the transferred inmates had complained about being moved, a step that she said Arizona authorities regretted but felt was necessary because of the state's shortage of prison space.
"They're obviously resentful because they had to leave the state," she said. "It's too early to say whether that played any role in the incident or not.''
She said there hadn't been any trouble with the transferred Arizona inmates before Tuesday.
"They were carefully picked before we would even put them in Indiana,'' Decker said. ''They must have had no predisposition to violence."
The agreement with Arizona came nearly three months after a plan in which California would have sent 1,260 of its inmates to the prison fell through.
NUMBER OF INMATES TRANSFERRED TO NEW CASTLE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY FROM PRISONS IN ARIZONA
Lewis facility outside of Phoenix - 210
Eyman facility outside of Florence - 105
Douglas facility - 210
Yuma facility - 105
Sun staff writer Nicole Squibbs contributed to this report. Nicole Squibbs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6855.