We are learning more about what caused a violent New Year’s Eve fight at a privately-run prison that houses state convicts.
The incident happened last night at the Walnut Grove Correctional Facility on highway 492 in Leake County.
Authorities tell us the fight involved several inmates in one of the housing units.
The incident appears to be gang-related.
A private company, Management & Training Corporation, has a contract with the Mississippi Department of Corrections to operate the prison.
A company spokesman said in a statement” some of the injured were transported to local hospitals and later returned to the facility. One correctional officer did sustain minor injuries. The facility is on lockdown.”
One correctional officer who didn't want to go on camera told us the inmates had been planning the fight for more than a week.
According to the officer, the prison is understaffed and they are not allowed to carry guns. He says if inmates get out of hand, their only defense is a hand held radio to call for back up."
The guard tells us there are about 1,400 inmates at the correctional facility just inside the small town of Walnut Grove.
The company spokesman told us the prison is not understaffed and was fully staffed when the fight broke out.
We spoke with a woman whose 22-years is old son is an inmate at the prison. Because of the lockdown she's been unable to contact her child to find out where he is or how he's doing.
The company says the incident is still under investigation. And they're working with the department of corrections to determine what sparked the gang fight.