- Prisoners at Willacy County Correctional Center set fire to three of the prison's 10 housing facilities
- They are protesting the current state of their medical services
- Two officers and three to five inmates received minor injuries
- Staff had yet to regain complete control of the prison on Saturday night
- Negotiations are underway and the facility has been placed on lockdown
- Local, state and federal agencies are also patrolling the prison's gates
Thousands of federal prisoners will have to be moved to other penitentiaries after 2,000 inmates armed with pipes set fire to part of a South Texas prison after seizing control of the area.
The uprising began on Friday when prisoners at the Willacy County Correctional Center refused to perform their work duties in protest of the current state of their medical services.
The conflict erupted around noon when prisoners stormed the recreation yard and set fire to three of the prison's ten housing facilities.
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A prisoner jumps on the Willacy County Correctional Center security fence. 2,000 inmates armed with pipes stormed the recreation yard in protest of the current state of their medical services
The uprising began on Friday at the South Texas prison when inmates refused to perform their work duties
The inmates set fire to three of the 10 housing facilities. One official said the damage would make them 'uninhabitable' and thousands of inmates would have to be transferred to other penitentiaries as a result
One official said the damage had made parts of the prison 'uninhabitable', according to the Associated Press.
Video taken by KGBT Action 4 News captured the chaos as prisoners jumped and shook security fences and whooped as smoke from the fires filled the air.
The recreation area can be seen filled with inmates while more and more state trooper and sheriff cars park onto the other side of the fence like a barricade and a helicopter patrols the air.
Officers can also be seen watching from a prison tower.
Two officers and three to five inmates received minor injuries during the violent protest, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
Negotiations were still occurring Saturday and the staff have not yet regained complete control of the prison, according to FBI Spokesman Erik Vasys.
'The situation is not resolved, though we're moving toward a peaceful resolution,' he said.
Issa Arnita, a spokesman for the contractor operating the penitentiary, said officers used tear gas and 'non-lethal force' to try and control the protests.
He added that there was no danger to the nearby public, as the facility has been placed on lockdown and the security fences have not been breached.
Local, state and federal agencies are also patrolling the prison's gates, according to Willacy County Sherrif Larry Spence.
Prisoners stand at the penitentiary's western fence on Friday. Negotiations were still occurring Saturday night and the staff have not yet regained complete control of the prison
Officers used tear gas and 'non-lethal' force to try and control the protests and the facility has been placed on lockdown
Three nearby schools were placed on a 'soft lockdown' on Friday and all sports practices and after-school activities were cancelled.
Around 900 other inmates also housed in the facility are not taking part in the protests, according to authorities.
The prison's inmates are primarily 'low-level' offenders who immigrated to the U.S. illegally.
It is unknown what specific medical services the inmates were protesting, but a 2007 American Civil Liberties Union study revealed that poor access to health care was one of the most common grievances by imprisoned immigrants.
The report included complaints that it could take up to a week or longer before prisoners were seen by a practitioner, as well as that they were often withheld emergency services and medication.
Two officers and three to five inmates received minor injuries during the violent protest at the prison. The gates are currently being patrolled by local, state and federal agencies