What wasn't reported was that this institution has had problems before, including a fight two years ago that turned into a melee involving 200 inmates.
At 9 p.m. Monday, about 400 inmates refused to leave the recreation yard and return to their cells. It took about 3 1/2 hours and the use of "approved, non-lethal chemical agents" to bring the situation under control and get the inmates back into their housing units, Grant said.
On Tuesday morning, officials were trying to determine what prompted the inmates to refuse to leave the recreation yard, said facility spokeswoman Rose Thompson. She said officials from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice were on site as well to investigate.
"We're searching out those who instigated the disturbance," TDCJ spokeswoman Michelle Lyons said.
She said those found to be instigators will be transferred to other facilities and the findings of their investigation will be turned over to prosecutors for possible charges.
Corrections Corp., based in Nashville, Tenn., called in special response teams from Mineral Wells and neighboring facilities to help control the scene as about two dozen inmates refused to cooperate late Monday. The holdouts threw rocks, broke glass and tried to destroy property before they were brought under control, Grant said.
Mineral Wells police Capt. Mike McAllester said a report came in about 9:15 p.m. of "out of control inmates" at the facility, 40 miles west of Fort Worth.
About 30 officers from Mineral Wells and surrounding agencies set up a perimeter outside the prison's gates to secure the area, McAllester said. From the outer gates, he saw fires set within the facility but they appeared to burn out, he said.
Part of it could also be the parole board's fault. As I've mentioned previously, this is supposed to be where offenders spend time preparing to be released on parole. But Parole Board Chair Rissie Owens refuses to abide by that convention, so it's just become a regular old prison. Perhaps setting expectations which are then repeatedly dashed contributes to the apparent, repeated problems there. Maybe that's something they should discuss at the annual meeting of the parole board tomorrow?
UPDATE: More from Texas Prison Bidness