Breaking News

Monday, December 22, 2014 - 2:27pm

SPECIAL REPORT: Inside La Tuna

News

POSTED: Friday, October 29, 2010 - 5:24pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - 9:19pm

ANTHONY, TX - Quiet and calm. It's how things appear from outside of FCI La Tuna.

That's the way it should be.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons lists La Tuna as a low security correctional institute; holding only men and imprisoning some of your least dangerous offenders.

But what we're about to show you paints a completely different picture.
A source leaked exclusive government-owned video and pictures to NewsChannel 9.
It's our first look at what's really happening inside.
The threat isn't only against inmates, but the guards who are charged with keeping order here: inside La Tuna.

RIOT 1:
August 2, 2006.
A riot broke out over several of the housing units between rival gangs.
One of a few to happen in the coming months.

The camera, being held by one of the guards, leads us through Housing Unit 2.
You can see chairs thrown. Several of the cells look as if they've been turned upside down.
Then, after guards regain control, inmates are forced to lie down face down; their hands bound behind their backs with zip ties.

Guards interviewed inmates one at a time.
Some had severe black eyes, others had heads wrapped in bandages.

Chilling, but nothing compares to the next riot, just a little over a month later.

This time, we see not just head bandages, but neck braces, gashes in the back of heads, inmates covered in blood.

Some had to be hospitalized for weeks.
How did it start?

During breakfast at the prison.
The pictures leaked to us show a blood-stained cafeteria.
We're told the attack was between rival gangs.

But what's most shocking is how the inmates were able to do all this damage.

This is the slew of weapons found: it seems anything inmates could get their hands on, they used.
They had shanks made from pencils, pens, and the ends of broom and mop sticks.
They sharpened the lids of cans, stuffed socks with padlocks.
Inmates would swing them at their targets.

In the midst of this chaos, it was remarkable that no one died.

We asked the warden and the staff at La Tuna several times for an on-camera interview.

We wanted to know how the inmates were able to stash so many weapons, how they were able to hurt each other so badly if guards had been around.
We were told to fax in two requests for that interview. But each time, we were denied.

A staff member did e-mail us this statement.

"Unfortunately, because our business is to confine convicted felons, there is always a potential for violence to occur within an institution. In all of the instances referenced above, staff immediately controlled the situation and handled it professionally and effectively," said Hilario Terrazas, a spokesman for La Tuna.

But one guard back in April told Local 4 News things are more dangerous now, than they ever have been.

Just as inmates rioted again.
The prison was put on lockdown after an inmate assaulted another staff member.
They were planning a food strike in protest of poor medical care inside the prison.
This staffer says guards are outnumbered every day.

"There are 1,000 inmates in there and 250 staff members. Look at the numbers, they're not good."

That's just one guard to 25 inmates.
Math that many fear could eventually add up to someones death.

"You know the response team is going to come from phone calls asking staff to respond, but by then, it's going to be too late."

Despite many other prisons allowing cameras in to their facilities, La Tuna leaders said they were, "not interested in participating in an on-camera interview," citing privacy and security concerns.

Leaders did offer us a tour of their prison, but we declined because they wouldn't allow our cameras in.

Comments News Comments

whoa folks, the guards at La Tuna are gang members and they encourage and ignore gang activity inside that prison. Prisoners have rights, after all this is America. Prison is punishment they are there not there to be further punished. And feeling safe is a constitutional right for everyone not just a select few. As far as this country goes, soon, those who have not been in prison will be the minority because we keep drumming up new laws to keep the prison industry going.

if there were not such demand for drugs in this great usa there would be no drug wars.the law of supply and demand. i live in a very small 95% white america and the highschool kids have skittle parties. every one brings prescription drugs from parents med cabinet they mix them in a bowel and take them by the handfull. our town has 1 gradeschool,1 middle school and 1 highschool and the big drug problem in the high school is heroin and cocaine. what does that tell you about society. p.k.

they are human beings not animals,although i will agree some people are to far gone to rehabilitate. i have a son who spent 4 years in a ferderal prison. spent his 21st birthday incarcerated there. he is now 30 married and 3 little girls and a productive member of socieity. i say keep the ganmgs seperated. no contact between them and maybe some good can come.why dipleperatly instigate a vilotile situation p.k.

These staff members complaining about shortages can blame themselves for allowing their Union to push for Compressed work schedules. Compressed schedules shorten staff rosters almost about a third on every shift. Stop complaining about weapons, it is your job to do random shakedowns on inmates as well as areas. I think due to the lack of staff they don't have time to do these things ask your Union to help you. When Management tries to help Union file a grivance because they will not pay OT.

amen p.k.

Most of the gentlemen incarcerated at LaTuna are there because our federal govt makes new laws every week to keep their prison industry going. Most of these men shouldn't be there in the first place. We incarcerate more people in this country than anywhere else in the world, more than the next 14 countries combined. Prison is their punishment and yes they have rights too. Beware, it could be your child in there.

They might be human beings but 1)they are in prison for a reason and 2) they are bringing the riots and fighting and killing on each other. It's not the outside world giving them this reputation, they create it themselves. If they gave a dang about their families they wouldn't be "felons" to begin with!

you are absolutly right p.k.

These are human beings your talking about. They are brothers, sisters, fathers, grand fathers, uncles, people not just "felons".

You see the pictures do Humans do these things? They brought it on themselves it is our job to teach the youngsters and prevent them from heading down the same path. Let these people work it out do their time and go home. If it is so bad in there why are so many returning? Maybe because it's not so bad in there. They have people like you to speak up for them when their tv goes out or when the microwave is not working boo hoo. How many people have to pay to watch tv, check yourself out.

Give all these idiot prisoners, a gun and one round of ammo. Lock them up on a football field and let them take care of themselves. once you crossed the line, and became a felon, you should lose all your rights and be treated like a caged animal.

I think it would be very beneficial to all of us for prisoners to be used as subjects for medical research. Think about it. They would be repaying their debt to society by aiding in advances in medicine!

No prisoners rights should be implemented. Prisoners are idiots in society.

no the idiot is you! prisioners are human, they made errors in judgement and are now doing there time! that does not give anyone the right to treat them as animals.

Shut up! prisoners should not have any rights...PERIOD! They killed, raped, robbied, stole from law bidding citizens or they were selling drugs to your kids. Let them kill each other. WHO CARES! Thats the problem with the world today. Too many people sticking their noses where it doesn't belong and saying its wrong? Again, its like....I don't like the cross on the mountain. It offends me. So now it has to be taken down because it offends me. Thats stupid. Since when did prisoners get rights any?

Not everyone in prison is a rapist, robber, thief, or drug dealer. People can go to a federal prison for things such as embezzlement, ownership of child pornography, or even drunk driving. Granted, embezzlement is a form of thievery on a corporate scale, however, the latter two offenses are nonviolent psychological issues that require treatment. Your idea that "prisoners should not have any rights" reeks of Nazism and forms of barbarism lost to the world since the Middle Ages. You are a fool.

Let the drug gangs, MS13, LKs and all them others kill each other off. Maybe then you'll have less drugs on the street and you kids will be some what safe from them. Maybe. Hell....maybe I'll become a prisoner so I can get rich from lawsuits because I will have the right sue for anything coming down the pike. But yes, again, can someone please show where prisoners have rights now? No wonder this country is so messed up. The laws are sooooo backwards.

Post new Comment