Officials Confirm Prisoner Protest at Eden Correctional Facility
"A group of inmates at the Eden Detention Center is refusing to leave the recreation yard and return to their housing units. Throughout this incident, they have been passive. Eden’s Special Operations Response Team (SORT) has been activated to help work toward a resolution and additional teams from other facilities are available to provide support as needed. We have alerted our government partners and local law enforcement," said a spokesman for the company operating the federal prison in Eden.
This was an update sent to us by CCA, Inc. spokesman Jonathan Burns in Nashville following our breaking news report of personnel entering the Eden Detention Facility. The statement was released just after midnight.
This is the original story posted at 11:12 p.m. Friday night:
Personnel in full riot gear were seen entering the prison in Eden at approximately 10:10 p.m. Friday night. There was also an ambulance seen leaving Eden northbound on U.S. 87 towards San Angelo at approximately the same time.
Above: Personnel in riot gear were photographed entering the Eden Detention Facility on July 29, 2016. (LIVE! Photo/John Basquez)
Outside indications and sources with inside information about the prison indicate there is an inmate protest underway.
The prison in Eden is operated by CCA, Inc. The prison is noted to be a low-security facility operated by the corporation for the Federal Bureau of Prisons since 1995.
Company officials attempted to run our photographer and a KLST-TV cameraman off when both set up late this evening to investigate reports of a prison riot at the Eden Detention Facility, 702 E Broadway St, in Eden.
Several unconfirmed reports arrived at our offices starting with a voicemail on the San Angelo LIVE! phone system left from a frantic family member at 8:08 p.m. Friday night.
The call, that originated out-of-state, claimed to be from a sister of an inmate at the facility there.
“He has called and said that the inmates are being treated inhumanely. So they are all outside in the yard asking for God’s eyes to see them. He said they wanted to be treated with dignity and like human beings,” the female who in a callback interview claimed again to be the sister of an inmate in the Eden prison.
“He would like for helicopters to come and see them, and see what the situation is,” she said.
We called the person who left the voicemail back and she said her brother, who was serving time after a federal felony drug conviction, called her at 2 p.m. and everything seemed normal. She said he called later Friday just before she contacted us to announce the prison protest.
She said the alleged inhumane treatment began when a new warden took charge in July 2015.
“They were limiting how many could go out into the yard at one time,” she said.
She said her brother told her that the changes were going to take time to adjust to.
The call earlier this evening sounded frantic, she said.
“Pretty much the whole facility was protesting,” she said her brother told her.
We could not verify the identity of the female caller. She stated she didn't want her brother to be singled out. She said, "My brother told me to not reveal his identity or mine," she said. Her area code was from well outside the local area.
Sources close to the Eden facility told us that “the shit just hit the fan tonight.”
The Concho County Sheriff dispatch did not indicate there were any issues with the privately-owned lockup facility along U.S. 87 in Eden at approximately 9 p.m. We called the prison itself, and after being placed on hold for about five minutes, the person who answered the phone said nothing was going on.
The warden, a CCA employee, is listed as Mike Pugh. He has been the head warden at Eden Detention Center in July 2015, according to the CCA website.
A Concho County Sheriff’s Deputy approached our photographer at the scene and told him not to get too close. He said since the facility is operated by a private corporation that any information about a disturbance inside its walls will come from CCA, Inc.
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