LOCAL News :: Crime and Police

Prisoners riot at privately-owned Tri-County Detention Center in southern Illinois, 110 miles southeast of STL

Inmates riot at Tri-County Detention Center
By Ashley Wiehle, The Southern
June 3, 2007

ULLIN - Pulaski County State's Attorney Grayson Gile will weigh in on whether to press charges following a riot involving nearly 50 inmates of the Tri-County Justice and Detention Center in Ullin on Friday evening.

The Illinois State Police responded around 8:30 p.m. Friday to a call that 46 inmates had barricaded themselves inside a housing area and began setting fire to mattresses and books.

When Pulaski County Sheriff Randy Kern, warden of the Tri-County Correctional Center, and police arrived, inmates refused orders to peacefully exit the burning area.

With the aid of 18 local agencies including fire and ambulance services, officers began firing tear gas projectiles into the facility just after 9 p.m. Inmates began to slowly exit the building. Each was decontaminated, taken into custody and individually secured in a separate area of the facility.

The last inmate was decontaminated and locked down at 9:20 p.m. Friday.

Kern said he believed there was no chance of an additional riot, because all inmates had been locked up individually.

No inmates or officers were injured in the riot, Kern said.

A 226-bed facility, the Tri-County Justice and Detention Center is owned by the GEO Group, headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla.

The center was previously managed by GRW Corp. out of Tennessee, which managed the facility since its opening in 1998.

Officials at Tri-County Justice and Detention Center said Saturday afternoon there was a strict "no comment" policy from local affiliates of the GEO Group and that all comment must come from the Florida headquarters.

The Tri-County Justice and Detention Center reportedly had a riot that resulted in a fire being lit within the facility on Friday. PAMELA KAY SCHMALENBERGER / THE SOUTHERN

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